Two rounds of recounting end in Shinde Sena victory in Mumbai North West | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Two rounds of recounting end in Shinde Sena victory in Mumbai North West

Jun 05, 2024 09:33 AM IST

The first round of counting of EVM votes ended at around 6.30 pm, with Kirtikar gaining by the thinnest possible of margins—one vote

MUMBAI: A wafer-thin vote margin in the Mumbai North West constituency led to victory ricocheting from one Sena faction to the other and eventually erupted in a recounting tussle. Finally, by 9 pm, the Shinde-led Shiv Sena’s candidate Ravindra Waikar was declared the winner against the Shiv Sena (UBT) candidate Amol Kirtikar by 48 votes.

Ravindra Waikar Candidate for Lok Sabha Mumbai North-West constituency celebrate after winning at Nesco on Tuesday. (Satish Bate/ HT PHOTO)
Ravindra Waikar Candidate for Lok Sabha Mumbai North-West constituency celebrate after winning at Nesco on Tuesday. (Satish Bate/ HT PHOTO)

The first round of counting of EVM votes ended at around 6.30 pm, with Kirtikar gaining by the thinnest possible of margins—one vote. The addition of postal votes turned it into a win for his opponent by 48 votes.

However, of the around 3,000 postal votes, which are counted before the start of EVM votes counting, around 111 had been rejected as invalid. This kicked into effect the rule 7.6 of the ECI’s Handbook for Counting Agents, which states that if the winning margin is fewer than the number of postal ballots rejected as invalid, the returning officer should personally re-verify the invalid postal ballots. Thus began the recounting of the postal ballots, with uncertainty, misconceptions and questions around.

By around 8 pm, Waikar was declared winner. After two counts of recounting the postal ballots, and despite the ECI website showing Kirtikar leading by one vote again, it finally stabilised to show Waikar’s win by 48 votes by 9 pm.

Crowds thronged the Nesco Exhibition Centre in Goregaon, where the counting was taking place. Celebrations began for Waikar even as Kirtikar’s supporters raged against the narrow loss and shouted slogans. After the decisive announcement of Waikar’s victory, fireworks erupted in celebration.

Waikar and Kirtikar left the counting centre after one of the lowest win margins in the history of the Lok Sabha elections. “Kirtikar came to meet me, and I apologised to him for the bitter narrow loss after rounds of recounting,” said Waikar to the media. “I won by 48 votes, but Atal Bihari Vajpayee lost his government by just one vote. This goes to show that every single vote is important. I had only 13 days to campaign, and despite the many fluctuations in the winning margin between my opponent and me, I fought and I won.”

While Kirtikar led in the EVM votes by 1, Waikar received 1,550 postal ballots over Kirtikar’s1,501, leading him to victory with a total of 4,52,596 votes. Kirtikar’s total votes were 4,52,596.

The battle, however, is still not over. “We suspect foul play in the counting,” said Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray. “We will challenge the result in court.”

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