Kolhapur bypolls: BJP’s vote share increases, but loss a setback for state unit chief
PUNE The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee Satyajit Kadam managed to get almost double the votes from around 40,000 in 2014 to 78,000 this time at north Kolhapur assembly bypolls
PUNE The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee Satyajit Kadam managed to get almost double the votes from around 40,000 in 2014 to 78,000 this time at north Kolhapur assembly bypolls. However, the loss to the Congress candidate has brought jolt to the party state unit chief Chandrakant Patil, who hails from Kolhapur and spearheaded the campaign.
The party who entered the fray in 2014 secured over 40,000 votes but lost to Shiv Sena. In the latest polls, Kadam polled 78,025 votes against 97,332 secured by winning Congress candidate Jayashree Jadhav. The by-election was necessitated due to the demise of Jayashree’s husband Chandrakant Jadhav.
When the elections were declared, BJP had offered ticket to Jayashree, who also happened to be the party’s corporator in Kolhapur Municipal Corporation till recently. Jayashree, however, chose to go with the Congress considering the sympathy wave. Political observers attribute the increase in BJP vote share to Sena backers in areas like Gangavesh, Babujamal, Rankalavesh, Uttareshwar and Dudhali supporting Kadam.
“The result shows BJP votes double while the Congress wins the mandate. The Sena lost votes and constituency,” said political observer Keshav Upadhye.
The constituency was considered a stronghold of Sena but Chandrakant breached the party’s bastion in 2019 when he defeated its two-term lawmaker Rajesh Kshirsagar. This time, Kshirsagar was hoping for Sena ticket though its leadership convinced him to back the Congress candidate.
The BJP was banking on Sena supporters and Hindutva. The party received votes from Shahupuri’s potter community, who were unhappy over the meagre compensation given by the MVA government for losses caused due to damage of statues in the 2021 floods, political observers said.
BJP insiders said Patil’s statements on various occasions brought embarrassment to the party. Patil, who is currently an MLA from Kothrud assembly segment in Pune, monitored the campaign. During one of the campaign meeting, Patil claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sleeps for only two hours every day and is doing an experiment so that he will not have to sleep and can work for the country 24 hours. His remarks went viral and was trolled too.
Earlier, Patil had said that if he loses elections from Kolhapur, he will quit politics and leave for Himalaya. Patil said, “I had talked about leaving for Himalaya if I would have been defeated. In the latest polls, Kadam made Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders slogged, if I had contested, what would have happened.” The loss in elections also triggered speculations about Patil’s possible removal, though the party leaders denied it.
BJP spokesperson Atul Bhatkhalkar said, “There is no truth in the speculations about Patil, who is our leader in the state.”
Meanwhile, the clout of Satej Patil, Congress leader and Kolhapur district guardian minister, who spearheaded Kadam’s campaign, increased within the party after the win.