Mumbai: Rutuja Latke, the candidate of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), was on course for a comfortable win in the bypoll to Andheri (East) Assembly seat in Mumbai by bagging more than 37,000 votes out of the 49,616 votes counted so far on Sunday, followed by 7,556 votes polled in favour of the None of the Above (NOTA) option. So far, 10 rounds of counting have been completed, an official said.
The November 3 byelection, necessitated due to the death of sitting Shiv Sena MLA and Rutuja Latke’s Ramesh Latke in May this year, was a mere formality after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew its candidate from the race.
At the end of the 10th round of counting, Rutuja Latke bagged 37,469 votes out of the 49,616 votes counted so far.
As many as 7,556 votes were so far polled in favour of the NOTA option, leaving the six other independent candidates far behind.
The NOTA gives an option to electors not to vote in favour of any of the candidates in an election.
Sena’s Ramesh Latke had represented the Andheri (East) Assembly seat twice.
The Shiv Sena had won 56 seats in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls. Ramesh Latke’s death in May this year brought the tally down to 55.
In June, 40 Sena legislators led by Eknath Shinde revolted against the party leadership, resulting in the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government (MVA).
Shinde subsequently became chief minister in an alliance with the BJP.
This was the first electoral contest in Maharashtra after the collapse of the MVA government.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, both constituents of the MVA, have supported Rutuja Latke’s candidature.