Nagpur, Jul 18: BJP state unit President and Party candidate Nitin Gadkari has been declared elected to Maharashtra Legislative Council from Nagpur Division Graduates constituency, thereby registering his fifth win in a row.
Mr Gadkari defeated his nearest rival, Baban Taywade, an independent supported by the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), by a margin of 23,925 votes, officials said. Mr Gadkari polled 52,761 first preference votes against 28,836 first preference votes polled by Mr Taywade. Pradip Padole of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) polled 9,471 first preference votes.
Divisional Commissioner and Returning Officer Anand Limaye officially announced the result late last night after seven rounds of counting. The polling, which took place on July 15, saw 96,580 of the 1,71,467 registered voters exercise their franchise. Of the votes cast, 5,195 were declared invalid.
Although there were a total of ten candidates in the fray, there was a straight fight between Mr Gadkari and Mr Taywade. The presence of Mr Padole was significant because it is the first time BSP is contesting an election to the Upper House in Maharashtra.
This is Mr Gadkari's fifth consecutive win from the constituency.
He was first elected to the Legislative Council in 1988, to the vacancy caused by the death of sitting member Gangadharrao Fadnavis.
Mr Gadkari was elected again in 1990, 1996 and 2002.
The first preference votes polled by the other candidates (all independents) in the fray in Nagpur Division Graduates constituency were as follows: Abdul Karim Patel 70, Bhaiyyalal Tibude 26, Manoj Paulzagade 10, Milind Thombre 147, Ravindra Nagose 17, Kalyandas Raut 14 and Suresh Shinde 33.
In Amravati Division Teachers constituency, sitting member Vasant Khotre (independent) was declared elected, after the counting of the second preference votes of 15 of the other 18 candidates in the fray. The result was declared in the early hours today, official sources said.
Mr Khotre had polled 8,301 first preference votes, 3,443 short of the quota for victory of 11,744. His nearest rival, Shrikant Deshpande, also an independent, had polled 3,301 votes. The process of elimination was, therefore, initiated, with the second preference votes cast by the other candidates being taken into account.
The constituency saw a total voting of 24,464, of which 23,486 votes were valid, while 978 votes were declared invalid.