It is D-Day on Wednesday for the much-talked about Bandra (East) bypoll. Political bigwigs are waiting with bated breath for the counting in the constituency, set to take place on Wednesday.
The result is crucial — both for the city and state politics — as it will decide the fate of two parties involved – Congress and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM). For the Sena, the victory is more of a matter of pride.
Low voter turnout (38%) and an ambiguity in the voting pattern, especially by the Muslim community, have made it difficult to predict the winner. However, information available with leaders indicates that Sena candidate Trupti Sawant has an edge over her rivals.
On the other hand, Congress leaders are sure of a victory, claiming MIM’s Rehbar Khan failed to garner a significant chunk of Muslim votes.
In the Assembly polls, Khan had managed to get the third largest number of votes after the Sena and BJP. Following an aggressive campaign by MIM’s Owaisi brothers, it is expected that the minority votes could be split between the Congress and MIM.
During the counting process, the fight between the Congress and Sena is expected to be neck-and-neck till the end. Both parties have aggressively campaigned to clinch the win.
Both have their own reasons. For Narayan Rane, who was defeated in his homeground Malvan during the Assembly polls, the win will be a resurrection of sorts. This will improve his stakes in the Congress as well as in state politics. He can also stake a claim to the post of leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly.
On the other hand, for Uddhav Thackeray, maintaining a hold in the constituency is a prestige issue as it is being held in the Sena’s backyard. Matoshree, the residence of the Thackerays, falls in this constituency.
According to reports, around 30,000 Muslims cast their votes this bypoll, while Maharashtrian and North Indians roughly accounted for 73,000 of the total 1,03,003 valid votes.
While the Sena is rejoicing the low turnout in Muslim-dominated areas, the Congress camp has claimed it has received substantial number of votes from Maharashtrian and North Indians as well.
Meanwhile, the MIM is banking on this election to establish its presence in the state. Even if the MIM candidate does not win, his success in attracting a significant number of Muslim votes will act as a booster to its cadre for the upcoming civic election in Aurangabad, where the party enjoys good support.
Results will also be announced for the Tasgaon-Kavthe Mahankal Assembly bypoll on Wednesday.
It appears to be a straight fight between NCP’s Suman Patil, RR Patil’s widow, and BJP rebel Swapnil Patil. Suman Patil is expected to win with huge margin. The bypoll was held after RR Patil’s death.