Moderate turnout in Maharashtra assembly by-polls

Mumbai/Sangli, April 11: Voting ended peacefully for the by-polls to Bandra East (Mumbai) and Tasgaon-Kavthemahankal (Sangli) assembly constituencies in Maharashtra on Saturday, officials said.

As per tentative estimates, a modest 43 percent and 45 percent polling were recorded in Bandra East and Tasgaon-Kavthemahankal respectively.


The elections were necessitated by the demise of sitting Bandra East legislator Bala Sawant, a senior Shiv Sena leader and Tasgaon-Kavthemahankal legislator R. R. Patil, former deputy chief minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader.

In Bandra East, Congress strongman and former chief minister Narayan T. Rane has locked horns with Shiv Sena's Trupti Sawant, widow of Bala Sawant, and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen's Raja Rehbar Khan.

In Tasgaon-Kavthemahankal, Patil's widow Suman R. Patil contested with the support of all major state parties, barring Bharatiya Janata Party rebel Swapnil Patil.

Former Congress MP Nilesh Rane was detained by police in Bandra for allegedly flouting poll norms by roaming near polling stations along with party supporters.

His enraged father and Congress candidate Narayan Rane lodged a protest against what he termed "wrongful detention" and accused the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena government of misusing official machinery to intimidate rival candidates.

"My son Nilesh has been detained illegally by police. The state government is misusing its power since they are going to be defeated in this constituency," Rane told the media.

He warned that if any Shiv Sena leaders or state ministers were found moving illegally in the constituency or illegally campaigning for their party candidates, he would stop them and ensure suitable action against them.

The counting will be done on April 15.


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