Mumbai, May 24: Chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde made it to the Assembly today after winning the South Solapur by-election.
Shinde, who was not a legislator when appointed chief minister in January, polled 85,329 votes of the 93,739 cast. Equally impressive was the voter turnout of 92 per cent.
“This huge margin of victory and the large number of people who came out to vote for me puts an added responsibility on me to perform better,” a happy Shinde said. “I will do my best to live up to their expectations.”
Shinde’s rivals fared dismally. The Bahujan Samaj Party’s Sanjeev Sadafule finished a distant second, getting just 5,896 votes. Vishnu Kumbhar, an Independent candidate, could only muster 1,571 votes while Sunil Waghmare of the Prabudh Republication Party managed 943 votes.
Only the record for the highest winning margin eluded Shinde. That record lies in the name of his predecessor Vilasrao Deshmukh. The former chief minister won the Latur seat in the 1998 Assembly election by a huge margin of 85,000 votes.
Shinde replaced Deshmukh as chief minister on January 18 this year after the latter ran into a lot of opposition and was accused of being inefficient and weak. The way was cleared for Shinde to enter the Assembly when the minister for dairy development, Anandrao Deokate, gave up his South Solapur seat.