The battle for this SoBo was no less than a full-blown Bollywood potboiler.
In Ward 220 — area like Null Bazar, Kamathipura and Grant road — first went to the Shiv Sena’s Surendra Bagalkar, with a victory margin of three votes after counting was done. Soon, his rival, Atul Shah, demanded a recount. The recounting was done thrice, and both candidates ended up in a tie all three times, with 5,946 votes each.
The seat finally went to the former MLA and BJP candidate Shah, but not before a rare lottery was conducted to pick the winner.
After holding a recount thrice in the presence of candidates — as is mandatory in the case of a tie — BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta rushed to the counting centre in Mumbai Central. As per procedure, chits with the two candidates’ names were thrown into a lucky draw of sorts, and a seven-year-old girl picked the winner.
But until the recounting was done, senior party leaders joined the candidates at the counting centre. Shah was joined by BJPs education minister Vinod Tawde. Sena leaders Sanjay Raut, Arvind Sawant and Anil Desai were also present at the centre.
The Sena by then had won 84 seats in the city and were hoping to add one more to improve its tally, as none of the parties had reached the required 114-mark to control the civic body.
Bagalkar was a corporator and a standing committee member.
Shah, after winning the lottery, said, “I never anticipated such a thing (tie) in the ward. But I am happy and satisfied that I won the lottery, which I consider God’s gift. I am happy I was able to remove Sena from the ward, which it has governed for over two decades.”