In a major setback to the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Samadhan Autade on Sunday won the by-election to Pandharpur-Mangalvedha Assembly seat in Solapur district by defeating Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate Bhagirath Bhalke.
As per the district election officials, Autade defeated Bhalke by a margin of 3,733 votes. While Autade polled 1,09,450 votes, Bhalke bagged 1,05,717. A total of 2,27,421 votes, including postal ballots, were counted, they said.
Meanwhile, NCP state president Jayant Patil cited a lack of proper communication between the party cadres for Bhalke's loss. "The election was held in two talukas - Pandharpur and Mangalvedha. And hence, our two teams weren't able to properly communicate between themselves. This was the reason for the loss of NCP candidate Bhagirath Bhalke by a small margin of votes," Patil said. He also thanked the other parties of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA)--Shiv Sena and Congress--for their help during the polls.
According to news agency PTI, after the poll results were declared, BJP workers were seen celebrating Samadhan Autade's victory in the temple town of Pandharpur, despite a ban on gatherings in view of the COVID-19.