Congress candidate Hemant Katare today won the Ater Assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh defeating his nearest rival Arvind Singh Bhadoria of BJP by a margin of 857 votes.
With this victory, the Opposition party retained the seat in Bhind district, where bypoll was held last Sunday, though with a significantly reduced margin as compared to 2013.
In the initial rounds of counting, BJP and Congress candidates were in a neck-and-neck race. But later Katare established a convincing lead of over 9,000 votes.
However, in the last two rounds BJP’s Bhadoria closed the gap to a large extent but Katare romped home with a margin of 857 votes in a keenly-fought contest.
In 2013, the Congress nominee’s father, Satyadev Katare, had won the seat with a comprehensive margin of 11,426 votes.
Satyadev’s death necessitated the by-poll in Ater.
After the last round, Bhadoria demanded a re-count but the Returning Officer rejected his plea and declared the result.
The Ater Assembly segment was embroiled in an EVM row ahead of the April 9 bypoll.
The row began with the trial of an EVM at Ater, when some reports suggested that voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machine dispensed only BJP slips, no matter which button on it was pressed. However, MP’s Chief Electoral Officer denied this.
VVPAT is a machine which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for. The slip drops in a box but the voter cannot take it home.
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