By TwoCircles.net staff reporter
Mangalore : U.T. Khader of Congress Party has won the Ullal bye-election by defeating his nearest rival Chandrashekhar Uchil of Bharatiya Janata Party by 8,032 votes, media reports said here Tuesday.
Though Ullal is believed to be a strong fortress of Congress for years, this time around, there were a few doubts about its outright win. While the fight was between Congress and BJP, the entry of JD (S) was considered something that would tilt the scales. Abubakkar Natekal is a familiar name in Ullal because of his social work and generous deeds. Moreover, there was a popular perception that he had been fielded in order to divide Congress' votes, since there are more Muslim voters in the constituency. But that did not materialise.
The victory of U.T. Khader has come as a big shock to BJP which was confident of a win with a handsome margin. Since the chief minister and deputy chief minister too had camped in the constituency and campaigned for their respective party candidates, there was a feeling that BJP would cruise to victory.
Moreover, this time only 60% polling - the lowest ever in Ullal - had been recorded which was thought to a major hurdle for Congress. Those who could not vote either for not holding proper ID proof or any other reason were mostly Muslims. Besides, many members of the Christian and Muslim communities are working abroad.
Although U.T. Khader had been working hand in hand with his father, he was considered to be inexperienced and too young. But he disproved all theories as he raced to a comfortable victory. What is heartening to Congress is that the victory margin is increased by over a thousand votes than last time when his father U.T. Fareed won. It is a marked loss for BJP since last time too Chandrashekhar Uchil was their candidate and he had been defeated by more than 7,000 votes.
Local leaders and even the voters agree that U.T. Khader has won this election more out of his personal charisma. Over the years, when his father was ailing, he had efficiently managed to fulfil his father's duties and had carefully nursed the constituency. This had given him a chance to meet people, interact with them and continue welfare works. Being young, he had managed to establish good rapport with youth from all the communities. Moreover, he has always been media and people-friendly.
Locals say that he mingles with people quite easily and without any hassle. A law graduate, he is also academically sound as against the BJP candidate who has only completed his SSLC. Khader is said to have done commendable job during the communal riots to maintain peace in the area and control youth from his community from resorting to violence. This had helped him in many ways to increase his popularity. A man of few words, he is believed to be speaking more through his deeds.
All through his lifetime, the late U.T. Fareed too was considered to be people-friendly and had maintained a clean record. Though Ullal is a sensitive area, Fareed had seldom given an opportunity to anyone to point a finger at him. His clean image had done a world of good to Congress. While it lost most of its seats in the last general election, Fareed had managed to win which was more owing to his personal charm.