Fifteen months after being voted to power in Maharashtra, the Congress on Tuesday emerged as the single largest party in the state assembly as it won all the three assembly by-polls held on January 21.
With this victory, the Congress now has 72 legislators in the 288-member assembly, and overtakes the Nationalist Congress Party, its ruling partner in the state government, that has 71 members in the House.
The Shiv Sena, which lost all the three seats to the Congress, now has 59 MLAs and the Bharatiya Janata Party has 54 members in the assembly.
Around 60 per cent of the electorate had cast their votes in three assembly constituencies of Vengurla, Rajapur and Sangameshwar, whereas 50 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the Sangli Lok Sabha seat. About 579 Electronic Voting Machines were used in the three assembly segments and 1067 EVMs in Sangli.
The elections were necessitated due to the death of Congress parliamentarian from Sangli Prakash Patil and the resignation of three Sena legislators representing Rajapur, Vengurla and Sangameshwar in support of Rane, who quit the saffron outfit and joined the Congress in July after differences with Sena executive president Udhav Thackeray.
Sena's Ravindra Mane, Rajan Salvi and Ramesh Naik were pitted against Congress' Subhash Bane, Ganpat Kadam and Shankar Kambli in Sangameshwar, Rajapur and Vengurla, respectively.