BENGALURU: Despite going through a horrific episode of his son Mohammed Nalapad’s alleged assault on a businessman’s son on February 17, Congress sitting MLA of Shanthinagar constituency NA Haris managed to bag the seat in a closely fought contest at the May 12 assembly polls for which the results were out on Tuesday.In fact, the Congress party itself was unsure about his win and had not announced a ticket for him in the first list of candidates. He got a ticket only in the second list to go on and win and retain the seat.
Haris won by a margin of 18,205 votes with him getting 60,009 and his closest rival, BJP’s K Vasudev Murthy getting 41,804 votes. When Haris’ victory was announced, he said, “There were several people who tried to defeat me by doing many things, but God helped me and my voters held my hand.”Interestingly K Vasudeva Murthy, who gave a tough fight to Haris, had also contested in the last two elections against Haris. But, during 2008 and 2013 elections, Vasudeva Murthy had contested on a JDS ticket, and lost to Haris in both those elections, too. What Congress feared, in fact went the other way to work in Haris’ favour.
According to Shanthinagar voters, it was the sympathy factor which worked for Haris this time. “Although having his own party ruling the state, the MLA did not protect his son and he came before the media and apologized for what his son did. This worked well in his favour,” say voters.
Haris is popular among his electorate for organising community-related gatherings during festivals. He even attracts people by sending them gifts during vacations and on his birthday.Apart from this, votes from sum-dwellers in the Shanthinagar constituency worked the magic for Haris. Among over two lakh voters in this constituency, about 80,000 are Muslims or Christians, and are largely supporters of Haris. About 30,000 Dalits living in this constituency also favour Haris as he is seen as a hands-on MLA.