In a relief of sorts, Congress candidate Vishwajeet P. Kadam was declared elected unopposed in the bypoll to the Maharashtra Assembly from Palus-Kadegaon in Sangli, after eight candidates withdrew from the fray, officials said here on Monday.
Among those who withdrew from the May 28 bypoll -- necessitated by the death of incumbent and senior Congressman Patangrao Kadam on March 9 -- included the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s Sangram S. Deshmukh.
Earlier, in an embarrassment to its ally BJP, the Shiv Sena had announced its unconditional support to Vishwajeet Kadam's candidature as a mark of respect to his deceased father.
The Sena expressed its "active support" to the Congress nominee and lauded his father's contribution to in the field of education, and social and cooperation sectors, besides mocking the BJP for not announcing its support to Vishwajeet and ensure his unopposed election.
However, ignoring the Sena critique, the BJP attempted a behind-the-scenes bargain -- it would withdraw its candidate from Palus-Kadegaon in return for Congress support in the crucial Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll and other elections, but the Congress rejected it.
Later, as all other opposition parties also stood in support of Vishwajeet, the BJP came under pressure to review its stand and finally backed off from the contest, paving the way for his unopposed election.
Besides BJP's Deshmukh, seven other Independent candidates in the fray also stepped aside in favour of Vishwajeet. His late father had represented this seat four times in the past.
An engineer, Vishwajeet Kadam, 38, also holds a doctorate (PhD) in Management and completed Management and Leadership in Education from Harvad University, USA.
Besides running the Pune-based "Bharatiya Vidhapeeth", a leading group of educational institutions in Maharashtra, he served as the Maharashtra Youth Congress President for some years and contested unsuccessfully to the Lok Sabha from Pune in 2014.
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