Some 4,000 voters in Khanapur in Sangli district of Maharashtra today delivered an interesting mandate when they rejected the candidates of political parties and elected only independents. Elections to nagar panchayats were held in the state on Sunday and counting of votes took place today. In Khanapur nagar panchayat, all the 17 seats were won by independent candidates while NCP and BJP were routed completely. Khanapur tehsil is a part of Sangli's drought-prone region. "Candidates of NCP and BJP were in the fray along with independent candidates. The total number of voters was 4,399, of which 3,921 exercised their right, registering 89.13 per cent turn- out. This was the highest response of voters in the district," said Kalpana Dhawale, tehsildar, Vita. "By noon we realised that independent candidates are leading in every ward," said Dhawale, who was the returning officer for the election. Further, two independent candidates in ward-1 got equal number of votes, even after a recount. "As per the procedure, chits were prepared and a child was called to pick one," Dhawale said. "The chit had the name of Swati Rajendra Tingare.
We declared her winner." Asked how the new civic body might shape up now, she said, "I have communicated it to the district collector and sought his suggestion. I think the winners will now hold meetings and form an informal panel with some mutual agreements. Because they will have to appoint someone as chairperson of the nagar panchayat.