Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Ashok Chavan on Wednesday hailed Narayan Rane for taking up the challenge to contest by-election to Bandra (East) seat and said the party will not get bogged down by the defeat.
Putting up a brave face, Chavan asserted that despite Rane's loss, he will continue to lead the party.
"Rane gave a good fight and compared to October assembly polls last year, Congress saw a marked improvement in the party's vote share in the constituency," he said.
He held party like All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in the fray as key factor that benefitted Shiv Sena and BJP.
"Such parties are vote splitters and they misguide the minorities and help Sena-BJP. The Bandra (East) by-election result once again proved this," he added.
Chavan said Congress will not be affected by the defeat, instead it would aggressively take on the BJP-Sena government in the state and at the Centre.
The former chief minister congratulated NCP candidate and widow of late R R Patil Suman Patil for winning the bypoll to Tasgaon-Kavathe Mahankal constituency.
Congress had supported the NCP in the constituency.
NCP president Sunil Tatkare said Suman Patil's victory in Tasgaon was expected.
"We thank the people of Tasgaon for paying tribute to late R R Patil by electing his wife with a thumping margin," he said.
Referring to Rane's defeat, Tatkare said MIM's vote share had come down drastically whereas Congress climbed from fourth position in October last year to runner-up.
"Shiv Sena's votes were bound to increase because BJP was not in fray. Some BJP votes must have gone to the Sena," he added.