Congress wins Kolhapur North byelection in Maharashtra

  • | Saturday | 16th April, 2022

Kolhapur, Apr 16 (PTI) In a boost for the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) combine in Maharashtra, Congress on Saturday won the byelection to the Kolhapur North Assembly constituency, retaining the seat by defeating the BJP by over 19,000 votes. Congress is a prominent member of the MVA coalition along with the NCP and Shiv Sena.Congress-MVA candidate Jayashri Jadhav bagged 97,332 votes while the BJP"s Satyajeet Kadam polled 78,025 votes. Jadhav thus won by a margin of 19,307 votes. The byelection to this Assembly segment in western Maharashtra"s Kolhapur district was necessitated by the death of sitting Congress MLA Chandrakant Jadhav due to COVID-19 in December 2021. Congress fielded his wife Jayashri in the byelection that was held on April 12. The BJP fielded Kadam, a former Congress leader.As much as 61.19 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the election. Congress workers celebrated the victory in Kolhapur by dancing and throwing "gulal" in the air. Jadhav thanked voters and said all three constituents of the MVA worked together to clinch the victory. Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole said it was a "victory of progressive thoughts." State BJP president Chandrakant Patil said his party accepted the mandate. "The BJP on its own got more than 77,000 votes and made it tough (for the MVA). It was a closely contested fight. Winning and losing are part of elections and even former prime minister Indira Gandhi had to face defeat once. In democracy, decision of voters has to be accepted and we have accepted that decision," said Patil, who hails from Kolhapur. The quantum of votes polled by his party was not small, he added. "I am thankful to party worker who were not cowed down by repression. We will deliberate on the reasons for the defeat," Patil added.Asked about his vow that if he contested a byelection in Kolhapur and lost he would go to the Himalayas, Patil said, "You (the MVA) had a tough time when Satyajeet Kadam contested, what would have happened if I had contested the election." While the state BJP chief put on a brave face, a huge banner with the words `Himalaya ki god me" and a picture of Patil in saffron robes emerged during Congress workers" celebration in Kolhapur. Congress leader and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said, "The voters of Kolhapur North have rejected attempts to create religious polarisation. Kolhapur has always followed the ideology of equality." In Mumbai, Congress workers burst firecrackers at the Tilak Bhavan, the party"s state headquarters in Dadar.Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the result showed that "dirty politics" over the issue of loudspeakers at mosques and recital of Hanuman Chalisa did not work."When the campaign was at its peak in Kolhapur, the issue of loudspeakers at mosques and Hanuman Chalisa was brought up. But the people of Kolhapur have given them the answer and the loudspeakers have been removed. The politics of loudspeakers has ended today," Raut said while targeting the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (whose chief Raj Thackeray recently demanded a ban on loudspeakers at mosques) and the BJP.Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, state Congress chief Patole said, "Efforts were made to hide the Centre"s failure on inflation, unemployment, poverty and the problems faced by small farmers and traders, by creating religious hatred. The victory has sent out a message from the birthplace of Shahu Maharaj (the late ruler of the Kolhapur princely state who was known for his progressive policies)." The BJP has begun to lose byelections, may it be Bihar, Chhattisgarh or West Bengal, he added. There were 15 candidates in the fray for the Kolhapur North seat though the main fight was between Congress and the BJP. Senior leaders of the MVA as well as that of the BJP campaigned during the election. PTI SPK COR MR CLS NP KRK KRK

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