In a jolt to its ally Shiv Sena which had "hijacked" the family of its late MP, its ally Bharatiya Janata Party retained the Palghar Lok Sabha seat where its candidate Rajendra Gavit won the bypolls, the results of which were announced on Thursday afternoon.
BJP's Gavit defeated his nearest rival, Shriniwas Vanga of the Sena and the son of sitting MP Chintaman Vanga, whose death in January had necessitated the bypoll, by over 29,000 votes.
While Shriniwas Vanga had joined the Sena on the eve of the elections, Gavit had quit the Congress to join the BJP and was rewarded with a ticket for the high-stake seat.
"I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and all the party leaders and workers for this victory. I dedicate this (achievement) to the late BJP leader Pandurang Phundkar (who died this morning)," Gavit said.
As per available figures, Gavit secured a little over 272,000 votes compared to Vanga's 243,000 votes.
Locally strong party Bahujan Vikas Aghadi's candidate Baliram Jadhav got a little more than 222,000 votes, while the Congress candidate Damodar Shingada was the poor fourth.
The Sena has raised objections to the vote counting process, alleging discrepancies in figures, especially in the rounds 20-24, and plans to raise the matter with the Election Commission.
Meanwhile, the BJP has announced it will not have any victory celebrations in Palghar in view of the death of its minister and senior leader Phundkar this morning, said Minister of State for Medical Education Ravindra Chavan, who is considered the architect of the Palghar victory.
Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content