'Paul and sundry' fail to play spoilsport in Munugode by-election

Praja Shanti Party chief and evangelist KA Paul comes first in this list

KA Paul

MUNUGODE: As the round-wise vote-counting was picking pace in Munugode and trends beginning to appear on the horizon, it was also becoming evident that the smaller players, that were most dreaded, failed to make any significant impact on the by-election here.

By the end of six rounds of vote counting, the TRS appeared to be making a slow but steady march towards a historic victory here. BJP's Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy, who was the legislator here until he switched his loyalties from the Congress party a few months ago, was trailing him behind in second position.

With half of the 15 rounds still left, the trends however appeared to have settled one factor decisively. That is the lack of any impact of the smaller candidates, who were touted to be eating into the votes of one or two major parties to play a modest part in upsetting their apple cart.

Praja Shanti Party chief and evangelist KA Paul comes first in this list. Besides his usual big talk, hype and hoopla and his campaign-time antics, his presence was always viewed by the major parties with a sense of suspicion due to the possibility of vote erosion.

Beneath the non-seriousness that he displayed, he was still seen as one of those who can sway away a few thousands of votes, largely of Christians. He was also anticipated to attract people from SC, ST and BC communities to his fold, a factor that usually upsets the prospects of one or more political parties in a tight and multi-dimensional electoral fight.

But as trends emerged, KA Paul, who contested as an independent, only received 213 votes after six rounds. The counting was not over yet but going by this trend, it was hard to imagine that his vote share would see a dramatic rise in the next nine rounds.

Similar was the case of Mayawati's Bahujana Samaj Party (BSP). Its candidate Andoju Shankara Chary received only 1,237 votes at the end of the sixth round. BSP was also anticipated to be one of the silent killers in Munugode, especially given the buzz that its state president Praveen Kumar, a former IPS officer, created after his entry into the party. Unless there was an upswing in the remaining rounds, BSP would be viewed as a party that only 'flattered to deceive' in Munugode.

There were a few other independents, whose poll symbols briefly gave the major political parties some anxious moments. Shiva Kumar with the road-roller symbol, polled 672 votes after six rounds. Road-roller was one of the symbols that the TRS objected to, due to the striking resemblances with its car symbol.

Srisailam Yadav, bearing the Chapathi Roller symbol, received 451 votes. Most interesting was the case of Yerpula Galaiah who figured at the second place on the extended ballot with his chappal symbol. He garnered 769 votes while 173 voters preferred the NOTA (none of the above) option by the end of the sixth round.

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