The Nationalist Congress Party on Thursday retained the Satara Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra as three-time MP Udayanraje Bhosale, who switched over from the Sharad Pawar-led party to the Bharatiya Janata Party last month, trailed by a huge margin.
The seat was won by his cousin Shivendrasinh Abhaysinhraje Bhonsale by almost 48,000 votes.
Bhosale won the seat for the first time as an NCP candidate in 2009. His defection to the BJP prompted the Election Commission to announce a bye-election in Satara just five months after the Lok Sabha elections. The election was held on Monday.
Bhosale is a descendant of medieval Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Last week, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar had admitted at a rally in Pune that he had made “a mistake” by choosing Bhosale as the Lok Sabha candidate from Satara earlier this year.
Bhosale was not the only big defector from the Nationalist Congress Party to lose an election. Vaibhav Pichad lost the Akole Assembly seat on a BJP ticket. He had won it in 2014.
The other defectors to the ruling alliance, however, were in a better position and looked set to win. Kalidas Kolambkar, who moved from the Congress to the BJP, and Sandeep Ganesh Naik, who moved from the NCP to the BJP, won in Wadala and Airoli. The MLAs had switched allegiances in July after resigning from the state Assembly.
The ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance won around 160 seats in the 288-seat Maharashtra Assembly while the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party together managed to reach 100.
As results came in, Sharad Pawar said politicians who had defected from the Congress and his party were not accepted by the people.