Maharashtra Revenue Minister and Congress candidate Narayan Rane Tuesday won the Malwan assembly seat by 63,372 votes defeating his rival Parshuram Uparkar, who lost hid deposit.
Rane bagged 78,616 votes, while Uparkar got 15244 votes.
The by-election was necessitated following the resignation of Rane, who has been representing the Shiv Sena from Malvan in the past, from the Assembly. He later joined the Congress. The by-poll was held on November 19.
That Rane would win handsomely was clear from the very first round when the Konkan strongman led by 11,280 votes.
Subsequent rounds of counting only reinforced the margin. However, the loss of deposit of the Sena candidate has come as a shock for the Sena leaders.
The party had already conceded the by-election to Rane. In a front-page comment in Sena mouthpiece Samna, Bal Thackeray said, "If Rane wins today, it will be the victory of the defeated."
"Rane claimed that no one can contest against him. But Uparkar stood like a rock in front him, and that is when Rane was aleady defeated," the article said.
The result of the by-election has come as a major setback to Shiv Sena in its traditional stronghold of Konkan, where Rane had held the party's mantle till he switched sides.
After his win, Rane was quick to demand resignation of Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray -- differences with whom reportedly led to his expulsion -- stating that he should resign owning responsibilty for the defeat in Malwan.
Rane said his "family-like relations" with the voters had worked in his favour.
The Congress candidate, who nearly doubled his victory margin, caused the greatest upset for Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray who had himself campaigned against him in the Konkan region, widely regarded as Sena territory.
"The Shiv Sena pitted its full force against me here, but I have family-like relations with the voters and their efforts were in vain," Rane said.
"This was once a Shiv Sena stronghold. Today, it is a Congress stronghold," he said.
"The Sena is finished in this region. It is not Uparkar who lost deposit, it is Uddhav Thackeray who has lost. Almost all Sena leaders came to campaign (here), but they still could not save forfeiture of the Sena candidate's deposit," Rane told reporters in Malwan.
The former Sena strongman made the statement since Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had made Malwan by-election a prestige issue, sending almost all top hierarchy of the party to campaign in Malwan and even visiting himself despite being unwell.
The Sena chief also made an emotive statement saying that the public meeting in Sindhudurg was the last political meet of his life, citing factors like age and health that were not in his favour.
However, results show that this appeal too failed to move voters.
The by-election also witnessed an unusual aspect when the saffron party, known for bullying approach, lodged several complaints to election authorities about the terror tactics adopted by Rane.
The law and order machinery was on its toes, all along, with several incidents of violence reported during the campaign period.
State intelligence had also predicted a bloody polling and post-results, but nothing untoward has been reported so far.
While Congress leaders joined Rane's campaign, it's ally the Nationalist Congress Party stayed away from most of the campaigning reportedly due to Rane's decision to prefer the Congress over NCP after leaving the Sena.
However, NCP chief Arun Gujarathi and former Sena leader-turned-NCP strongman Chagan Bhujbal eventually campaigned for Rane.