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He maintains the lead in all the five rounds of counting
Clean image also contributed to the victory, says a leader
VISAKHAPATNAM: MLC of the North Andhra graduates' constituency in the Legislative Council M. V. S. Sarma won hands down, maintaining his lead in all the five rounds of counting that went on till late on Tuesday night. He has improved his majority from the last election by over 1,900 votes.
As a result of meticulous planning and campaigning by workers belonging to people's organisations, he has won the seat for the second consecutive term. Other parties took their time for selecting their nominees and the names came up only before the election. Mr. Sarma, on the other hand, had begun preparing the ground much before the election.
Other political parties admitted that it had become difficult to counter the groundswell of support for Mr. Sarma. “When we campaigned for our candidate, many asked us why they should not give a second chance to Mr Sarma,” said a political leader. He attributed the voter support to Mr. Sarma's clean image also.
Getting support from employee unions, Mr Sarma contested as an independent with support from the CPI(M) and the Lok Satta.
In the counting on Tuesday, he fell short of a mere 192 votes for getting elected directly without resort to transfer of second preference votes. In all the five rounds, he maintained the lead with the first round alone giving him a massive 8,148 votes of the 13,999 counted.
A large number of votes went invalid. Not many of the voters were familiar with the process of preferential voting and seemed not to have bothered to get it clear before voting. Of the 68,475 votes polled, 5,215 were invalid. In the postal ballot too, of the 63 polled, 50 became invalid on a procedural ground. They were not signed by a gazetted officer as prescribed.
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