Cong Setback in Maharashtra Legislative Council Polls

Cong Setback in Maharashtra Legislative Council Polls
Congress today suffered a setback losing two out of three seats it had contested in the biennial elections to Maharashtra Legislative Council, which it fought in alliance with the Sharad Pawar-led NCP.

Congress could retain only the Latur local bodies seat in which Dilip Deshmukh, younger brother of union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, was re-elected for the third time, while lost Chandrapur and Amravati local bodies seats in the polls held on May 25 for six seats.

While retaining Amravati seat, BJP defeated Congress nominee Rahul Pugalia to claim Chandrapur seat which was earlier held by an Independent.

On the other hand, Congress' alliance partner NCP retained Raigad seat and also won Parbhani which was though held by Congress was allotted to NCP in the pre-poll understanding reached between the two parties.

While, counting for the Nashik local bodies was in progress, the state electoral office said.

Meanwhile, Congress sources said that they lost the Amravati seat by a margin of 10 votes.

"Ajay Navandar, the independent candidate had sought party ticket and was backed by local congress MLAs in Amravati. However, the party leadership refused to nominate him and instead fielded Aniruddha Deshmukh, the district unit party chief," they said, adding that Deshmukh could have not been supported by the NCP due to differences at the district level.

According to sources, Congress did not have the requisite numbers in its favour to claim Chandrapur seat.

According to election officials, Mitesh Bhangadia claimed the Chandrapur-Gadchiroli-Wardha seat defeating Rahul Pugalia by a margin of 200 votes. Pugalia is the son of Congress heavyweight from the region Naresh Pugalia. He had earlier unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Assembly election from Ballarpur.

Chandrapur district collector and election officer Vijay Waghmare informed that out of 619 votes cast, Bhangadiya polled 403 votes and Pugalia 200, while 16 votes were declared invalid.

The seat fell vacant following retirement of Congress MLC Jainuddin Jhaveri Mohsinbhai.

In Amravati, BJP's Praveen Ramchandra Pote secured 194 votes out of 393 votes polled defeating Congress nominee Aniruddha Deshmukh who secured 156 votes, while 11 votes were declared invalid.

In run-up to polls, BJP had denied ticket to sitting member Jagish Gupta, a two-term MLC and former minister of state in the Shiv Sena-BJP government in 1995.

On Latur seat, Dileep Deshmukh defeated BJP-supported independent nominee Sudhir Kulkarni by a margin of 600 votes. While Deshmukh polled 663 votes, Kulkarni just 63.

NCP's Abdullah Khan alias Babajani Durrani defeated his rival and independent candidate Brijlal Khurana to win Parbhani seat.
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