Voting for the bypoll to the Andheri East Assembly constituency started on a brisk note amid tight security, here on Thursday morning.
The voting, which started at 7 a.m., with queues of voters building up at several polling stations, will continue till 6 p.m. and the results are expected on November 6.
The main candidate in the fray is Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Rutuja Latke, the widow of former sitting legislator Ramesh Latke whose death in May necessitated the by-elections.
Put up as a joint Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) candidate, Latke is fighting on her party’s new name and symbol — Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray — and the Flaming Torch.
She is opposed by six other candidates, two local political parties and four independents and is to romp home easily.
The contest lost its political sheen after the Bharatiya Janata Party last week decided to withdraw its candidate Murji Patel, while others like Aam Aadmi Party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, etc., did not put up candidates.
Votes are being cast at 256 polling stations, comprising 239 on the ground floors while 17 are on the first floor, we have made arrangements for wheelchairs and lifts are also available, drinking water and other basic requirements of the voters, according to an SEC official.
A former BMC employee, Latke — the widow of sitting Shiv Sena MLA, the late Ramesh Latke who passed away in May — is challenged by Bala Nadar (Aapki Apni Party), Manoj Kumar Nayak (Right to Recall Party), and four independents, Farhan Syed, Neena Khedekar, Milind Kamble Rajesh Tripathi, are in the fray.