Less than four months ago, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Abu Asim Azmi won the Bhiwandi East Assembly seat by 16,500 votes. On Saturday, his 27-year-old son Farhan lost his debut election from the same seat by a mere 1,600 votes.
The father defeated the Shiv Sena, while the son lost to the Sena.
Winning candidate Rupesh Mhatre polled 35,376 votes while Farhan polled 33,700. Congress candidate Muzaffar Hussain finished third with 24,418 votes.
Mhatre and Farhan were neck-to-neck until the 17th round of counting when Mhatre got a decisive lead.
It was evident that the Sena got the benefit of the division of minority votes between the SP and the Congress.
In the 2009 polls, the Congress and Sena candidates were both Maharashtrians so Azmi managed to get the huge chunk of Muslim votes. This time, however, the Congress and SP candidates were both Muslims.
This divided the Muslim votes. The Sena also benefitted from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s absence from the race.
Mhatre had fought the election on the ‘outsider’ issue because Farhan is a Colaba resident and Hussain is from Mira Road.
“I would like to thank Abu Azmi for vacating the seat for me. I would also thank Muzaffar Hussain for coming all the way from Mira-Bhayander to contest the elections,” said Mhatre.