Updated: May 3, 2021 1:49:23 am
In a setback to the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government, BJP’s Samadhan Autade defeated NCP’s Bhagirath Bhalke in the bypoll to Pandharpur Assembly constituency in Solapur district. Autade won the seat by a thin margin of 3,733 votes on Sunday.
As per the official figures, Autade secured 109450 votes while Bhalke got 105717 votes. Over 66 per cent turnout was recorded during polling in the constituency on April 17, according to the Election Commission.
The bypoll was being projected by the contestants as a test of the MVA government’s popularity.
The BJP and NCP were in a direct fight in the bypoll, which was necessitated by the death of NCP legislator Bharat Bhalke due to Covid-19 in November last year. While NCP fielded Bhalke’s son Bhagirath, the BJP fielded Autade, who contested the 2019 Assembly poll as an independent candidate and the 2014 polls as a Shiv Sena candidate.
“The victory of BJP candidate Autade in Pandharpur is a comment on the corrupt and non-competent MVA government in Maharashtra,” Opposition leader in Assembly Devendra Fadavis said. “The public mandate for the BJP candidate is for development. The people defeated the NCP and conveyed a strong message about MVA’s misrule.”
State BJP president Chandrakant Patil said, “Instead of celebrating the victory of West Bengal, Shiv Sena and NCP should comment on Pandharpur Mangalvedha by-elections.” The BJP’s victory shows people are not happy with the state government and its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.
Conceding defeat, Jayant Patil, NCP state president and Irrigation Minister, said, “All the parties in the MVA helped us. But we lost the election by a thin margin due to lack of communication in the two tehsils and failure to take everyone along with us from these two tehsils.”
Senior NCP leaders and ministers Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil, Dhananjay Munde, Datta Bharane, NCP legislator Rohit Patil and others held campaign rallies for the NCP candidate. Shiv Sena minister Gulabrao Patil, state Congress president Nana Patole and other office-bearers had also campaigned for him.
BJP leaders such as Fadnavis, Chandrakant Patil and local MLAs and MPs campaigned for the party candidate in the constituency.
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