Tight police security for bypolls
Cops deployed at sensitive locations; all eyes are on NCP, which is hoping to retain important seat
NERUL: Residents of ward 88 in Nerul will queue up to cast their votes in the by-election on Sunday and the police have made arrangements to ensure peaceful elections.
“We have taken all precautions and conveyed a clear message to all that we will not tolerate any violence or violation of norms,” said Sangeeta Alphonso, senior inspector of Nerul police station.
She said, “Our personnel have been posted at all sensitive points to ensure free and fair elections.”
The election results hold importance as all eyes are on the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is contesting to retain its seat. The election was necessitated owing to the mysterious death of local NCP corporator Shashikala Maladi, whose body was found between Mankhurd and Govandi railway tracks last September.
The NCP, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)Shiv Sena alliance ended their heated campaign on Friday. The election commission has rescheduled the counting day to Sunday.
Although the election is for a single ward, all the parties had deployed their top local leaders and held public meetings. Several top leaders had virtually
camped in the ward. There were allegations and counterallegations during the campaign.
Congress candidate Nutan Raut had the party’s city chief Dashrath Bhagat and former corporator Santosh Shetty go door to door canvassing for their candidate.
“Last time, our candidate had
been very close to winning. This time we have put in more efforts and have an educated candidate, which the people of the ward are sure to accept,” said Bhagat.
MLA Manda Mhatre, Sena deputy leader Vijay Nahata, guardian minister Eknath Shinde, and opposition leader Vijay Chougule
campaigned for BJP-Shiv Sena candidate Saraswati Patil.
“We are confident of our victory because people have seen what we have done within a year of our governance,” said Mhatre.
“We had lost the last election by a small margin. Now is the time to nail it,” said Choughule.
He said, “The NCP does not have a majority of its own in the house. Any further reduction in its number could prove fatal.”
NCP candidate Shilpa Kambli’s campaign had been led by former corporator Suresh Shetty. Former minister Ganesh Naik, former MP Sanjeev Naik, MLA Sandeep Naik, mayor Sudhakar Sonawane and former mayor Sagar Naik had campaigned for Kambli.
NMMC house leader Jaywant Sutar said, “We have campaigned on the development plank. The allegations of corruption by the opposition are politically motivated.”