A voter turnout of 3.52 per cent was recorded till 9 am on Sunday in Chinchwad Assembly seat and 6.5 per cent in Kasba Assembly seat in Maharashtra as voting was underway for byelections in the two constituencies of Pune district, election officials said.
There was a clash between supporters of Shiv Sena (UBT) rebel candidate Rahul Kalate and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) outside a polling station in Chinchwad and police intervened to bring the situation under control, a senior police official said.
”It was a minor clash between the supporters of Kalate and BJP, but police intervened on time,” Pimpri Chinchwad’s Deputy Commissioner of Police Kakasaheb Dole said.
The byelections are significant given the changed political landscape in the state after the Election Commission recently allotted the ‘Shiv Sena’ name and ‘bow and arrow’ symbol to the faction headed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
A rebellion led by Shinde in June last year split the Sena and brought down the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA -also comprising the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party) government.
Shinde became CM on June 30, 2022 with the BJP’s support.
The bypolls in Kasba and Chinchwad were necessitated due to the death of their sitting BJP MLAs Mukta Tilak and Laxman Jagtap.
Voting for the bypolls in the two seats began at 7 am on Sunday.
Ravindra Dhangekar, the Congress-MVA candidate from Kasba constituency, was among the early voters and expressed confidence of winning the bypoll.
”I will win the election by more than 25,000 votes as people of the constituency are behind me,” Dhangekar said after casting his vote.
BJP candidate from Kasba, Hemant Rasane, went to Pune’s famous Shrimant Dagadusheth Ganapati temple and took blessings of God before casting his vote.
Rasane said he would get the blessing of voters in the bypoll.
In Chinchwad, NCP candidate Nana Kate and BJP nominee Ashwini Jagtap cast their votes.
Speaking to reporters, Ashwini Jagtap said the way voters from Chinchwad had trust and confidence in her late husband and MLA Laxman Jagtap, she also has similar trust and confidence in the voters from the constituency.
Kate, after exercising his franchise, said a great excitement was seen among the voters.