In a high stake battle in Maharashtra, BJP's Samadhan Autade has defeated NCP's Bhagirath Bhalke in the bypoll to Pandharpur-Mangalvedha Assembly seat in Solapur district.
The NCP and the BJP were locked in a direct fight in the bypoll, which was necessitated following the death of NCP legislator Bharat Bhalke due to post-COVID-19 complications in November last year.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had fielded Bhagirath Bhalke, the late MLA's son, against BJP's Samadhan Autade, who had contested the 2019 Assembly elections as an Independent and the 2014 polls on the Shiv Sena ticket.
Political observers had stated that the bypoll will test the popularity of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies - Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress - three ideologically different parties which have been sharing power in the state for the last one-and-a-half years.
Over 66 per cent voting was recorded during polling held in the constituency on April 17, as per the Election Commission.
The counting staff was provided sanitisers, masks and gloves. Social distancing was being maintained and only candidates and their polling agents are allowed inside the counting centre.
Section 144 of the CrPC, prohibiting the assembly of five or more people at one place, has already been imposed and no victory celebration is allowed outside the counting centre, the collector said.
Adequate police security has been deployed outside the counting centre.
(With inputs from PTI)