NOTA gets 14.79% votes in Maharashtra Assembly bypoll

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Representational image.

Mumbai: At least 14.79 per cent of the total voters who had exercised their franchise in the Andheri (East) Assembly bypoll in Mumbai chose the None of The Above (NOTA) option, as per the data analysed on Sunday when the result was declared.

In absolute numbers, 12,806 votes were polled in favour of NOTA, which stood in second space after the winning candidate, an official said.

Rutuja Latke, the candidate of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) backed by NCP and Congress, on Sunday won the bypoll by bagging 66,530 votes of the total 86,570 votes polled in the November 3 byelection.

Rutuja Latke polled 76.85 per cent of the total votes.

In the 2019 election to the Andheri (East) constituency, Ramesh Latke of Shiv Sena polled 62,773 votes against his nearest rival Murji Patel (Independent) who had bagged 45,808 votes. The NOTA tally stood at 4,311 at that time.

The byelection was necessitated due to the death of sitting MLA and Rutuja's husband Ramesh Latke in May this year.

Rutuja Latke's victory was certain given that the candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Murji Patel, had withdrawn at the last moment, granting a virtual walkover to Rutuja Latke.

Besides Rutuja Latke, six Independent candidates were in the fray.

Of them, Rajesh Tripathi got 1,571 votes, Neena Khedekar 1,531, Bala Nadar 1,515, Farhana Sayed 1,093, Manoj Nayak 900, and Milind Kamble received 624 votes.

A turnout of 31.74 per cent was recorded.

Queried on NOTA tally, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray hinted that the BJP's nominee would have scored as many votes had he contested the bypoll.

"Had our opponents been in the poll fray, their candidate would have secured the same number of NOTA votes", he told reporters after Rutuja Latke called on him post her win.

Speaking on the bypoll outcome, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule said in Thane that the victory of Rutuja Latke was certain the day the BJP withdrew its nominee.

Queried on the NOTA tally, he said, "Once withdrawn from the fray, the BJP will not indulge in activities like casting NOTA votes".

He recalled the BJP withdrew from the fray after NCP president Sharad Pawar and MNS leader Raj Thackeray's appeal to grant Rutuja Latke a virtual walkover.

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