In a boost to the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) combine in Maharashtra, the Congress on Saturday won the bypoll to the Kolhapur North Assembly constituency, retaining the seat by defeating the BJP by a margin of over 18,000 votes.
Congress-MVA candidate Jayashri Jadhav bagged 96,176 votes, while BJP’s Satyajeet Kadam polled 77,426 votes. Jadhav emerged victorious by a margin of 18,750 votes, election officials said.
The by-election to this Assembly segment in Kolhapur district of western Maharashtra was necessitated following the death of sitting Congress MLA Chandrakant Jadhav due to COVID-19 in December 2021.
The Congress had fielded the late legislator’s widow from this seat. The bypoll was held on April 12 in which 61.19 per cent voter turnout was recorded.
Following the result, the workers of the Congress, which shares power in the state with the Shiv Sena and the NCP, celebrated the victory by dancing to the tune of music and throwing ‘gulal’. Speaking to reporters after her win, Jadhav thanked the voters and said all three constituents of the MVA worked together to clinch the victory.
Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole termed the party’s win as “victory of progressive thoughts”. Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil said his party accepts the decision given by the voters. Reacting to the development, Congress leader and state Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said, “The voters of Kolhapur North seat have rejected the attempts to create religious polarisation. Kolhapur has always followed the principle of equality.” In Mumbai, the Congress workers burst firecrackers at Tilak Bhavan, party’s state headquarters, in Dadar area. Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, Congress’s Patole said, “Efforts were on to hide the Centre’s failure on the issues of inflation, unemployment, poverty, and the problems faced by small farmers and traders by creating religious hatred. The win has sent out a message from the birthplace of Shahu Maharaj.” The BJP has started facing a defeat in all by-elections, be it 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 the Congress and the BJP. During the poll campaign, senior leaders of the MVA as well as from BJP had come to Kolhapur to canvass for their candidates.