Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Ashok Chavan today hailed Narayan Rane for taking up the challenge to contest by-election to Bandra (East) seat and said the party will not get bogged down by the defeat.
Putting up a brave face, Chavan asserted that despite Narayan Rane‘s loss, he will continue to lead the party.
“Rane gave a good fight and compared to October Assembly polls last year, Congress saw a marked improvement in the party’s vote share in the constituency,” he said.
“Such parties are vote splitters and they misguide the minorities and help Sena-BJP. The Bandra (East) by-election result once again proved this,” he added.
Chavan said Congress will not be affected by the defeat, instead it would aggressively take on the BJP-Sena government in the state and at the Centre.
The former chief minister congratulated NCP candidate and widow of late R R Patil Suman Patil for winning the bypoll to Tasgaon-Kavathe Mahankal constituency.
Congress had supported the NCP in the constituency.
NCP president Sunil Tatkare said Suman Patil’s victory in Tasgaon was expected.
“We thank the people of Tasgaon for paying tribute to late R R Patil by electing his wife with a thumping margin,” he said.
Referring to Narayan Rane’s defeat, Tatkare said MIM’s vote share had come down drastically whereas Congress climbed from fourth position in October last year to runner-up.
“Shiv Sena’s votes were bound to increase because BJP was not in fray. Some BJP votes must have gone to the Sena,” he added.
Meanwhile, state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Raosaheb Danve attributed Sawant’s victory in Bandra bypoll to the “resolve of the people and the trust reposed by them on the BJP-Sena alliance.”
“We will also continue this winning streak in the April 22 polls for Aurangabad and Navi Mumbai municipal corporations,” Danve said.
“Congress tried to make the Bandra bypoll a prestigious one but people have shown that they don’t fall prey to false promises,” he said.
Taking a jibe at Rane on his defeat, RPI(A) leader Ramdas Athawale said the Congress leader should not have fought against a party which made him Chief Minister in the past.
With the exit of Chhagan Bhujbal from Shiv Sena in 1991, Rane gradually rose up the party ranks and worked at various positions, including municipal corporator, MLA and minister.
In 1999, when Manohar Joshi stepped down from the post of Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Rane succeeded him.
Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe attributed Rane’s defeat to his “outsider status” and said that results prove that voters are not “saleable commodity”.
“These results show that people believe in local leadership. The service and work done by Bala Sawant was not forgotten. He had risen up the ranks, thus he was connected to the people like a family member.
“Rane had created a larger-than-life image of himself which ultimately led to his defeat. People knew his real intentions for suddenly staking claim to the constituency. It has once again been proved that not all voters are a saleable commodity,” she said.