Congress Jayashri Jadhav secures comfortable victory over BJP in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur

Updated: Apr 17


The Congress’s Jayashri Jadhav on Saturday secured a comfortable victory over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the by-election to the Kolhapur (North) assembly segment. Jayashri Jadhav is the wife of Chandrakant Jadhav, a local entrepreneur who won the seat in the 2019 assembly elections. Chandrakant died in December last year due to Covid-19 related complications, necessitating the by-election on Tuesday.

Jayashri Jadhav secured 54.4% of the votes, defeating Satyajit (Nana) Kadam of the BJP by a margin of over 18,000 votes. Kadam, the nephew of local strongman Mahadeorao Mahadik, got 76,123 votes as compared to Jayashri Jadhav’s 94,717 votes.

Kolhapur (North) has long been considered a Shiv Sena stronghold but Chandrakant Jadhav breached the Sena’s bastion in 2019 when he defeated its two-term lawmaker Rajesh Kshirsagar. It was only after the 2019 elections that the Shiv Sena and the Congress stitched a new coalition with the Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi, or MVA. But Jayashri Jadhav’s campaign took a hit in the early phase because the local Shiv Sena leaders were unhappy that a Congress leader, and not someone from the Sena was the coalition’s candidate.

The BJP did attempt to tap into the resentment of local Shiv Sainiks, even accusing its leadership for digressing from its earlier focus on Hindutva by aligning with the Congress to stay in power. But a virtual rally by chief minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray helped consolidate Sena votes for Jayashri Jadhav,

A BJP leader suggested that the party wasn’t able to mobilise its supporters among the brahmin and mercantile communities such as the Gujaratis to reach the polling stations on voting day.

The constituency comprises the old areas of Kolhapur city such as Rajarampuri, Shahupuri, Laxmipuri and Bawda. A senior BJP leader from Kolhapur acknowledged that women voters appeared to have overwhelmingly voted for Jadhav, the first woman to be elected to the assembly from the seat.

The result comes as a jolt for state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, who represents Pune’s Kothrud in the assembly but hails from Kolhapur and led the BJP offensive. The defeat in his home district could affect Patil’s clout in the state BJP.

The BJP leader quoted earlier said many BJP workers were upset at the party allotting the ticket to Satyajit (Nana) Kadam, the nephew of local strongman Mahadeorao Mahadik. The Mahadiks have been in and out of several parties and fronts in the past, and are recent imports to the BJP.` Satej Pati, the guardian minister for Kolhapur district, said Jayashri’s election sends a message of equality from Kolhapur, the land of Chhatrapati Shahu.

“The BJP tried to polarise this election, but the people of Kolhapur have foiled this move... The BJP must now make it clear if it believes in the Constitution of India or not. They tried to polarise the electionand create a rift between communities,” he charged, adding that the MVA had countered this with a narrative centred around development.

Ruling MVA leaders see the by-election victory as a verdict on the popularity of the MVA after the BJP’s spectacular victory in four of the five states where assembly elections were held.

To be sure, the MVA was able to retain only one of the two other seats which have voted in a by-election after coming to power in November 2019. The BJP’s Samadhan Autade snatched the Pandharpur-Mangalwedha seat after the death of NCP MLA Bharat Bhalke In May 2021. In November, Jitesh Antapurkar of the Congress was able to retain the Deglur-Biloli seat which was earlier held by his late father, Raosaheb.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)