In Kolhapur, Shiv Sena's winning candidate thanks senior Congress leader for victory

In Kolhapur, Shiv Sena's winning candidate thanks senior Congress leader for victory

During his victory speech, one of the leaders thanked by Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Mandlik, who won from the Kolhapur Lok Sabha seat, was senior Congress leader Satej Patil. Speaking to The Indian Express, Mandlik said Patil’s campaign, ‘Aamche Tharle’ (we have decided) played a significant role in his victory. Mandlik defeated NCP MP Dhananjay Mahadik by over 2 lakh votes.

This is the second time the two leaders have been involved in a direct electoral contest.

Mahadik was one of the four NCP leaders who had withstood the ‘Modi wave’ during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and emerged victorious, defeating Mandlik by over 33,000 votes. Over the last four years, Mahadik’s proximity with the BJP had made the Congress and NCP uncomfortable. His cousin Amal Mahadik was the BJP’s candidate against Patil in the 2014 assembly election.

The decision of the NCP, to stand behind Mahadik despite his “proximity” with the BJP, had not gone down well with many leaders in the region. Along with Patil, many leaders, cutting across party lines in Kolhapur, had openly worked for Mandlik in order to defeat Mahadik. Referring to such leaders, Mandlik said they have helped him secure his victory. “… Cutting across party lines, many leaders have helped me,” he said.

Asked whether he would return the favour by helping Congress leaders during the upcoming assembly elections, Mandlik played safe. “I am a disciplined party worker and will follow the party line. However, I will surely like to help him,” he said.

When Mandlik was asked whether he will try to induct Patil into the Shiv Sena, he said Patil was a strong leader in his own stature, “but if he wants to join, I will ensure he gets all the welcome”. Patil has strongly denied talk of him joining any other party.