ELECTIONS to the Panvel and Bhiwandi-Nizampur municipal corporations held on Wednesday saw a 53 per cent voter turnout each. This is the first election to the Panvel municipality since it was formed in October last year.
In the Panvel polls, a total of 418 candidates are in the fray for 78 seats while 460 candidates are in the fray for 90 seats in the Bhiwandi-Nizampur civic body. The results are to be declared on Friday. The Panvel Municipal Corporation includes areas such as Panvel old city, regions under CIDCO such as Kharghar, Kamothe, Kalamboli, New Panvel, Taloja, and also 29 adjoining villages.
Officials involved in the election process in Panvel said the village areas especially saw a very heavy voter turnout, compared with the more cosmopolitan areas of Kalamboli, Kamothe and others.
In Panvel, the BJP is contesting the polls along with the RPI (A) led by Union Minister Of State Ramdas Athawale. The Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) is contesting in an alliance with Congress and NCP, while the Shiv Sena is contesting in alliance with the MP Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana.
The Panvel area has a strong presence of the PWP and NCP, but the BJP is hoping to make inroads here on the back of its victories in local body polls across the state.
In Bhiwandi, meanwhile, the Congress has complained to the state election commission about the abrupt transfer of Tehsildar Vaishali Lambhate the night before polling. On Tuesday, Divisional Commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh ordered the transfer of Lambhate and asked Shashikant Gaikwad, Tehsildar of Andheri, to take take charge with immediate effect.
Condemning the abrupt transfer, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant asked whether the state election commission had given its nod for the move. “It is a conspiracy of the state government as the transfer was affected when the code of conduct is in force,” said Sawant.
However, revenue department officials defended the order, saying it was part of routine transfers and not applicable to those involved with election duties. “In all, we have made 25 transfers that are routine. In case of those involved in election duties, the transfer orders will come into effect only after the code of conduct is over,” said Deshmukh.