Tuesday, March, 21,2023

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MLC Election results: BJP manages to pull off same trick twice in 10 days

Mumbai: After high drama over two invalidated votes which delayed the counting by nearly four hours, BJP managed to win all five seats it contested, while Shiv Sena and NCP managed to win two each. However, the Congress suffered an embarrassing defeat.

After the Supreme Court rejected the pleas by incarcerated NCP leaders Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik, the effective strength of the voting pool was reduced to 285. All 285 were cast by 4 pm, but the counting process, which was slated to begin by 5 pm only started after 9 pm.

The first to emerge victorious was former BJP leader from Jalgaon, Eknath Khadse, now rehabilitated by the NCP. BJP’s former minister Ram Shinde was the next to reach the magic figure of 26 votes. Shiv Sena’s Sachin Ahir was declared a winner followed by BJP’s Shrikant Bhartiya, Uma Khapre, and Shiv Sena’s tribal leader Amshya Padvi.

NCP nominee Ramraje Nimbalkar, the former chairperson of the legislative council, then notched up the required 26 votes, followed by BJP’s former Leader of Opposition in the council Praveen Darekar.

Although the battle was believed to be between Congress’s second candidate Bhai Jagtap and BJP’s 5th candidate Prasad Lad, the final round of counting ended with both winning and Congress first candidate Chandrakant Handore suffering a shock defeat. Handore polled only 22 votes, Jagtap won 26 votes and Lad secured more than 28.

Earlier in the day, the voting for 10 Vidhan Parishad seats witnessed high drama and controversy, with the returning officer invalidating two votes: one each in favour of NCP candidate Ramraje Nimbalkar and BJP candidate Uma Khapre during ballot ratification.

The said vote, where alleged overwriting was cited by BJP leader Ashish Shelar for the third preference vote segment, was kept aside by the returning officer following which ratification of the remainder of the 284 ballots continued. Within a short while, even as the ratification of the remaining 284 votes continued, a second such controversial ballot was discovered, this time cited by the MVA polling agent.

The returning officer, thereafter, decided that the two contentious votes were invalid and counting began of the 283 valid votes. However, the BJP then preferred a complaint to the Central Election Commission and the counting process was put off again, awaiting the CEC’s final ruling over the issue.

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