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Cong optimistic of improving fortunes with Palghar bypoll


Mumbai:  Nearly a year after its worst poll debacle in Maharashtra, Congress party’s fortunes do not seem to improve, if the recent local bodies and Assembly by-elections results are any indication.

But, the Palghar Assembly bypoll, which is likely to be announced soon, will turn the tide in its favour, party leaders feel.

Since October last year, the state has seen three Assembly by-elections – in Mukhed, Bandra East and Tasgaon, necessitated due to the death of sitting MLAs. The BJP, Shiv Sena and NCP retained these seats, respectively.

“The recent local bodies poll results have been the after effects of poor showing of our party in the last year’s Assembly elections. But we are hopeful of good show in the Palghar Assembly bypoll which will take place soon,” Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) spokesman Sachin Sawant said.

He said the Assembly by-election results should be seen in the context of sympathy for the contesting kin of sitting MLAs who had passed away.

In Aurangabad Municipal Corporation and Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, the Congress bagged ten seats each while in Vasai-Virar it drew a blank. The Palghar zilla parishad polls saw the party winning only one seat.

However, a party office-bearer said Congress had no grassroot strength in local bodies which went to polls in the last one year. “In all these elections, Congress had nothing to lose,” he said.

The party is now pinning hope on Palghar bypoll, necessitated due to the death of sitting Sena MLA Krishna Ghoda.

Congress candidate Rajendra Gavit had lost by a margin of 515 votes to Ghoda primarily due to factional feud in Palghar, party leaders say.

However, there is realisation in the Palghar unit of Congress that the loss of was due to factional infighting and the defeat could have been avoided.

Gavit is keen to contest again but the party is yet to finalise its candidate, the office-bearer said on condition of anonymity.

The state leaders have managed to stem the factional feud in the newly carved out district to prepare for the bypoll, he said.

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