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Pandharpur bypolls: BJP’s Samadhan Autade all set to win against NCP’s Bhagirath Bhalke

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BJP’s Samadhan Autade is all set to win over his NCP rival Bhagirath Bhalke in the bypoll to Pandharpur-Mangalvedha Assembly seat in Maharashtra’s Solapur district.

“At the end of the 34th round, NCP candidate Bhagirath Bhalke bagged 97,212 votes, while BJP’s Samadhan Autade polled 1,01,607 votes, taking the lead of 4,354 votes,” a district election official said.

As per district poll officials, there are total38 rounds of counting.

The NCP and the BJP are locked in a direct fight in the bypoll, which was necessitated following the death of NCP legislator Bharat Bhalke due to post-COVID-19 complications in November last year.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) fielded Bhagirath Bhalke, the late MLA’s son, against BJP’s Samadhan Autade, who had contested the 2019 Assembly elections as an Independent and the 2014 polls on the Shiv Sena ticket.

Political observers feel the bypoll will test the popularity of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies – Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress – three ideologically different parties which have been sharing power in the state for the last one- and-a-half years.

Over 66 per cent voting was recorded during polling held in the constituency on April 17, as per the Election Commission.

”The counting staff has been provided sanitisers, masks and gloves. Social distancing is being maintained and only candidates and their polling agents are allowed inside the counting centre,” he said.

Section 144 of the CrPC, prohibiting the assembly of five or more people at one place, has already been imposed and no victory celebration is allowed outside the counting centre, the collector said.

Adequate police security has been deployed outside the counting centre, he added.

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