Port Blair, May 23: The counting of votes for the lone parliamentary seat from Andaman & Nicobar constituency was taken up at JNRM campus this morning. As expected well in advance, it turned out to be a two-horse race between the Indian National Congress and the BJP candidates. The BJP candidate Vishal Jolly took the lead right from the first round. He maintained the lead round after round up to the 12th round causing a scare of defeat in the hearts of the Congress candidate Kuldeep Rai Sharma and his supporters. But, when everyone in the Congress party thought it a lost game, after trailed all through from Diglipur to Port Blair, in the 13th round of counting it was Little Andaman which came to the rescue of the luck come to the trailing candidate Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma.
Kuldeep who was trailing by about 10000 votes, reduced the lead to about 3000. With the remaining two rounds being Nicobar and Campbell Bay, which are traditionally considered a Congress stronghold, the prospects of Kuldeep winning the final battle brightened. And Nicobar voters did not disappoint the Congress candidate yet again. The deficit was wiped out and Kuldeep gained the lead first time in the 14th round. The 15th and the final round from Nicobars itself further consolidated the lead, sealing the fate of BJP candidate Vishal Jolly, and Indian National Congress and the BJP candidate Shri Kuldeep Rai Sharma recorded his winning by 1407 votes.
Finally it has turned out to be third time lucky for Kuldeep Rai Sharma who had tasted defeat on two previous occasions. While it was a gloomy election outcome for the Indian National Congress all over the country with its own president Rahul Gandhi losing from Amethi, the voters in remote Andaman & Nicobar Islands gave the party supporters a reason to smile.