The PMC by-election in ward number 40 (Mangalwar Peth) yesterday witnessed a low voter turnout of 42.82 per cent. Despite a weekly holiday and clear weather, voters were hardly visible at polling booths in the ward.

Poor show: The low turnout of voters in ward number 40 in the city for the by-election. This picture was taken in one of the polling booths in Narpatgir Chowk. Pic/Mandar Tannu

The seat fell vacant after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena corporator Kalpana Bahirat was disqualified for allegedly submitting fake documents to contest the 2012 civic elections. Yesterday’s bypoll was important as with 29 corporators, MNS was the second largest party in the civic body, and therefore the post of leader of opposition was given to MNS. However, with Bahirat’s disqualification, the party’s strength was reduced to 28, equal to that of Congress. 

If MNS fails to save its seat in ward number 40, Congress can stake claim for the position of main opposition party. Political leaders cited mismanagement of voter’s list and lethargic attitude towards voting as major reasons behind poor response to the balloting.

“It has been seen that voter turnout is always low during bypolls. However, that was not the only reason, as goof-ups in the voters’ list also discourage citizens from coming forward,” said Nationalist Congress Party city chief and Rajya Sabha MP Vandana Chavan.

Congress party is confident of benefiting from the voters’ apathy. “Our party will be the principal opposition party after the result of this poll. Noticing this new pattern of low turnout during by-election will help our party,” said Congress city chief Abhay Chhajed.

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A by-election was also held in Bhosari gaothan in Pimpari-Chinchwad, where only 40 per cent voters caste their votes. Two candidates are in the race for the post of corporator –Shraddha Lande of NCP and Sarika Kotwal of Shiv Sena. Here the seat fell vacant after it was discovered that NCP corporator Seema Phuge had provided fake caste document to contest the PCMC election of 2012.