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Gulbarga elected Indira Gandhi's close aide 'Stephen'
Gulbarga | Sunday, Apr 5 2009 IST
 
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The Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency in the backward Hyderabad-Karnataka region, which is considered to be a bastion of the Congress party, had once upon a time drawn the attention of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as she fielded her close political aide C M Stephen in 1980 by-elections.

In the 1980 General Elections C M Stephen, said to be a right hand person to Indira Gandhi, was defeated by A B Vajpayee in the Delhi constituency.

Ms Indira Gandhi wanted to see him in the Lok Sabha. She enquired for a safer Lok Sabha constituency for Stephen. She came to know 'Gulbarga' was a fortress of the Congress and anybody could win on a Congress ticket.

In the 1980 General Elections, N Dharam Singh who was an MLA from Jewargi Assembly constituency, contested in Gulbarga constituency and won by a huge margin of more than 1.17 lakh votes. But Indira Gandhi convinced him to resign from the seat to pave the way for C M Stephen. Dharam Singh resigned from the seat a few days after the elections even without taking oath.

Congress party district general secretary C B Patil Oklay told UNI, Stephen contested the by elections from Gulbarga. Interestingly he had never heard the name of the city.

''During the election campaign, we introduced him to the voters as ''Thippanna'' as the name Stephen was sounding critical and confusing'', he said. As expected Stephen won the election by a huge margin of more than 70,000 votes, over Janata party candidate B Darshanapur. Mr Stephen got more than 62 per cent votes even though he was an outsider for the state as he belonged to Kerala.

-- (UNI) -- 05DR39.xml

 

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