Test for Shinde as Pune by-elections record low turnout

The by-elections are the first test of the Eknath Shinde-BJP government following the unseating of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA alliance government.

Published: 27th February 2023 08:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th February 2023 08:14 AM   |  A+A-

Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde. (Photo | PTI)

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

MUMBAI:  Pune’s Kasaba Peth and Chinchwad by-elections reported a low voting percentage of 45.25 per cent and 41.1 per cent respectively on Sunday. The by-elections were necessitated because of the death of BJP MLAs Mukta Tilak and Laxman Jagtap, respectively.

The by-elections are the first test of the Eknath Shinde-BJP government following the unseating of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA alliance government. Besides, these are the first elections since the Election Commission declared the Shinde faction as the ‘real Shiv Sena,’ denying Uddhav Thackeray his father’s party name and symbol.

The results will tell which way the wind is blowing and define the future contours of state politics. On Sunday, Kasaba Peth witnessed a low turnout, but in the evening it increased and by the end of the day, it reported a moderate 45.25 per cent turnout. Congress has fielded Ravindra Dhangekar against the BJP’s Hemant Rasane in Kasba Peth. In Chinchwad, late BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap’s spouse Aswhini Jagtap is contesting against NCP’s Nana Kate. In Chinchwad, officials at polling booths were seen welcoming early voters with roses and rangolis.

Chinchwad is an extended suburb of Pune and it is an industrial township near Pune city. As many as 270 polling stations have been set up at Kasbapeth and 510 in Chinchwad. There are 2,75,428 registered voters in the Kasba constituency while the Chinchwad constituency has 5,68,954 registered voters. The Congress made several complaints against the BJP for “bribing” the votes by giving cash. Video clips surfaced on social media on Saturday and Sunday where money exchanging hands was shown.

On Saturday, Congress candidate Ravindra Dhanghekar also sat on a hunger strike against the EC for not acting against BJP workers and leaders who in police vehicles carried the cash and distributed it to voters in broad daylight.

If the BJP manages to retain the two seats, the MVA – Uddhav’s faction, Congress and NCP -- will have a tough time in sticking together. If BJP loses, then it will set the tone against the BJP in Maharashtra and that will not be good for the party for the Assembly and LS polls elections due next year.


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