Maharashtra bypolls result will have an impact on political equations
The bypolls were necessitated after the death of sitting MP Chintaman Wanga in Palghar and resignation of MP Nana Patole in Bhandara-Gondiya.mumbai Updated: May 31, 2018 01:34 IST
The results of bypolls in Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha constituencies that will be announced on Thursday are likely to have a major impact on political equations in the state.
The bypolls were necessitated after the death of sitting MP Chintaman Wanga in Palghar and resignation of MP Nana Patole in Bhandara-Gondiya. While in Palghar, the fight is multi-cornered, with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena and local outfit Bahujan Vikas Aghadi in the fray, the Bhandara-Gondiya bypoll is a direct fight between the BJP and NCP.
Both the seats were held by the BJP and losing even one could be seen as a setback for the party, while winning any seat may give a boost to the Congress and NCP.
The Palghar battle became a matter of prestige for the BJP as its ally Shiv Sena challenged it by fielding the late Wanga’s son Shrinivas. Vidarbha is BJP’s stronghold and losing a Lok Sabha seat barely a year before the 2019 polls would mean bad news for the party.
There are speculations that the Sena may pull out of the government if it wins the Palghar seat. However, Sena functionaries close to Uddhav Thackeray denied it. “I don’t think we would resort to this step immediately if we win, but the relations between the two parties would not be the same again. If it is won by any of the two parties, the rift will widen further,” said a key Sena minister.
“It is true that it was a tough fight in Palghar, but we will win it by a significant margin. The BVA and CPM candidates are likely to eat into the vote-share of the Sena and Congress respectively, and it will be in our favour. We will win long Bhandara-Gondiya comfortably,” said a top BJP leader.
The Bhandara-Gondiya contest is also significant for the Congress and NCP, who have come together after parting ways in the 2014 Assembly elections. If the NCP wins the seat, it will be a boost for them, but if it loses, there will be bitterness between the two parties as Congress leaders suspect the NCP did not fight it seriously.
Meanwhile, after the unprecedented failure of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPATs) on Monday, the Election Commission of India (ECI) ordered re-polls in 49 booths in the Lok Sabha constituency. The goof-up in the bypolls resulted in the transfer of Gondiya collector Abhimanyu Kale, holding him responsible for dereliction of duty. As 411 EVMS and VVPATs malfunctioned in Bhandara, the ECI announced re-polls in booths where the process was disrupted for more than two hours. The re-polling was held in 49 booths in Sakoli, Bhandara, Gondia, Arjuni and Moregaon in the constituency. “To ensure hassle-free polls, we dispatched 200 VVPATs from Sangli, where the Congress candidate in the Assembly bypolls was declared unopposed winner, and another 300 from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The VVPATs from Sangli did not reach in time, but machines from the neighbouring states were used. This time, no EVMs or VVPATs malfunctioned. At a couple of polling stations, the battery had to be replaced, and that was done within minutes,” said an ECI official, requesting anonymity.