In a setback to the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra, BJP candidate Samadhan Autade on Sunday won the by-election to Pandharpur-Mangalvedha Assembly seat in Solapur district by defeating his nearest NCP rival by a margin of over 3,700 votes, officials said. Autade defeated Bhagirath Bhalke, son of late NCP MLA Bharat Bhalke, who was fielded by the MVA.
NCP shares power with Shiv Sena and Congress in the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government. The NCP and opposition BJP were in a direct fight in this bypoll, which was necessitated following the death of Bharat Bhalke due to post-COVID-19 complications in November last year.
As per the district election officials, Autade defeated Bhalke by a margin of 3,733 votes. While Autade polled 1,09,450 votes, Bhalke bagged 1,05,717. A total of 2,27,421 votes, including postal ballots, were counted, they said.
After the poll results were declared, BJP workers were seen celebrating the victory in the temple town of Pandharpur, despite a ban on gatherings in view of the COVID-19.