The Andheri East Assembly constituency in Mumbai, where bypolls were held on Thursday, saw a voter turnout of 31.74 per cent at 256 polling booths. Polling concluded peacefully and smoothly, Mumbai suburban district’s office said in a statement. The counting of votes will be done on Sunday (November 6) from 8 am.
The by-elections were necessitated following the death of sitting Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke in May this year. Seven candidates are in the fray, including Rutuja Latke, wife of Ramesh Latke, contesting on a ticket from Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), with support from Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not field any candidate and had withdrawn its proposed candidate Murji Patel. Rutuja cast her vote on Thursday afternoon.
During the Assembly elections in 2019, the Andheri East Assembly constituency saw a voter turnout of approximately 53 per cent. Ramesh Latke had bagged a total of 62,773 votes out of 1,47,863 votes that were cast.
For the by-elections on Thursday, voting started at 7 am. The voting percentage till 11 am was 9.72 per cent, till 1 pm it was 16.89 per cent, till 3 pm it was 22.85 per cent; and till 5 pm it was 28.77 per cent.
Among the 256 polling stations, a ‘Sakhi’ booth was also set up, exclusively for women voters, at Marol High School. “There are many women voters in this polling station. Out of the 1,418 voters, 728 are women. Hence a women’s booth was provided at this location,” Returning Officer and deputy collector Prashant Patil said.
Meanwhile, party workers and some voters alleged that there were attempts to stop voters from casting their vote. Deepak Lodh, a voter at the Gundavli Municipal School, alleged, “BJP in the last two days tried to persuade voters from not voting. A lot of money has been distributed in my area to vote for NOTA.”
There were first time voters as well. Sana Fatima, a first time voter, said, “The election officers and volunteers were very cooperative and conducted the polling in a very organised way.”