Puttur, May 19, 2018: Congress leader Shakunthala T Shetty, who lost against BJP candidate Sanjeeva Matandooru in Puttur, announced that she will not contest elections in the future.
Shakunthala, who was one of the Parliamentary secretaries of former chief minister Siddaramaiah, said she will focus on building the party in Puttur. She was elected on a BJP ticket in 2004 and re-elected on a Congress ticket in 2013. However, BJP candidate Matandooru has defeated Shakunthala with a margin of 19,477 votes in the recently-concluded election. While Shakunthala bagged 70,596 votes, her rival secured 90,073 votes.
Shakunthala told media that a malicious campaign against her by the BJP led to her failure in the constituency. “I got the opportunity to become MLA twice and served honestly. This time, I lost because of many reasons. First of all, the Hindutva wave that the BJP created has affected my prospects. The Sangh Parivar, especially the RSS, has been working at the grassroots level to ensure the victory of the BJP in the name of Hindutva. A malicious campaign against the Congress and chief minister Siddaramaiah launched by the BJP has helped their candidate to win the election. They have been spreading lies that Siddaramaiah is anti-Hindu,” she alleged, adding that no personal attacks happened against her in the constituency, during the campaigns.
The former MLA also cast aspersions on the functioning of EVMs. “I have suspicions about the functioning of EVMs. I would have accepted the defeat without any suspicion if the margin was between 5,000–10,000 votes. Such a huge margin of above 19,000 itself leads to suspicion. We have already filed a complaint with the Election Commission,” she said.
On her future plans, Shakunthala said, “I have decided not to contest elections in the future. I will support party workers, who are unhappy over my defeat. I will instil confidence in them and work towards strengthening the party.”