Bypoll: MVA's Congress retains Kolhapur North Assembly seat (Ld)
Mumbai, April 16 (IANS) On expected lines, the Congress candidate supported by the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), Jayashree Jadhav, swept the Kolhapur North Assembly by-election, the results of which were announced on Saturday.
Becoming the first-ever woman to represent the Kolhapur North seat, she defeated her main political rival and BJP nominee Satyajit Kadam by a comfortable margin of nearly 18,800 votes in the elections held two days ago.
Among the 15 candidates, while Jadhav secured 96,226 votes, Kadam trailed far behind with 77,426 votes in his favour in the hotly-contested elections.
The bypoll for the erstwhile royal seat of the Chhatrapatis was necessitated following the death of Congress MLA Chandrakant Jadhav, who succumbed to Covid-19 in December 2021.
Both the MVA and the BJP had deployed top leaders in full strength to bag the seat, which was considered a 'prestige issue' for the two sides.
Accusing the Congress of allegedly bribing the voters, BJP state President Chandrakant Patil had warned of complaining to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against those who would take money.
Top leaders of the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress hailed Jayashree Jadhav's victory, saying the people of Kolhapur have rejected outright the BJP's divisive politics of Hindutva and hatred vis-a-vis the MVA's all-inclusive developmental agenda.
State Congress President Nana F. Patole said that those who threatened the people of Kolhapur in the name of ED have been "shown their place" in the results, and said (BJP's) Chandrakant Patil should now retire to the Himalayas.
Patole said that (BJP's Leader of Opposition) Devendra Fadnavis tried to create a religious divide among the people, but the citizens of Kolhapur have given them a "tight slap", rejecting communal and hate politics.
NCP's chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase and Mumbai leader Clyde Crasto said people of Kolhapur have strongly endorsed secularism and issues of development, rejecting the BJP's attempts to create rift among communities.
This is the second time since 2019 that the Congress has bagged the prestigious seat, which was held by the Shiv Sena for two terms in 2014 and 2009.