The MP who force-fed a fasting Muslim
Rajan Vichare, 52, Thane
Criminal cases: 13, including rioting and criminal intimidation
A few days after confronting officials of Maharashtra Sadan and forcing a chapati into the mouth of a fasting Muslim employee, Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare tweeted on the necessity of “walking away from arguments”. He went on to laud various icons ranging from Nelson Mandela to Zohra Sehgal.
What he is known for, however, is his aggression, not just because of what happened at Maharashtra Sadan. Vichare, 52, has over 13 criminal cases registered against him, the charges ranging from rioting to criminal intimidation, according to the affidavit he filed before the elections.
His detractors cite several past instances of “uncouth behaviour”. “He has a very abrasive nature. He has a habit of being abusive with officers which was evident in the Maharashtra Sadan incident,” opposition leader of the Thane Municipal Corporation Najeeb Mulla says.
Vichare’s personal political rise coincided with the Shiv Sena’s in the late 1980s and 1990s. He was eight when his family migrated from Maharashtra’s hinterlands to Thane, and was soon attracted like many other Marathi youngsters to the Sena. Vichare, who has cleared his SSC exams according to his affidavit, was particularly attracted by Anand Dighe, who was instrumental in spreading the clout of the Sena in Thane. He is known to have followed Dighe around. They built a bond that launched his political career. He became first a shakha pramukh or branch head of the Sena, and subsequently a corporator.
The death of senior faces of the Sena in Thane, including Anand Dighe and Prakash Paranjape, created space for a second rung, and Vichare was part of it. He was subsequently made Thane mayor in 2006 and an MLA in 2009.
In the 2014 elections, he surprised many by defeating Thane strongman Ganesh Naik’s son Sanjeev.
In his affidavit, Vichare has listed agriculture and house property as his sources of income.
Vichare is known to be religious. Sources say he takes along members of his constituency on pilgrimages across India.
And the 10 who were with him:
Sanjay Raut, 52
A journalist, Raut climbed up the Shiv Sena ranks thanks to his association with the Thackeray family and was made an editor of the party’s mouth piece, Saamna, in 1991. Since then, he has been known to have ghost-written most of the editorials and annual interviews that would appear in Saamna. The Thackerays repaid his loyalty by making him a Rajya Sabha member in 2004. He is known to have the ear of Sena President Uddhav Thackeray but shares an uneasy relationship with the party’s rank and file. He has had run-ins with the law and his brother was accused off attacking a regional TV channel over what it saw as unfair criticism of Bal Thackeray.
Criminal cases: 14, including criminal intimidation, defamtaion and rioting.
Anandrao Adsul, 67
A trade unionist, Adsul was transported by the Shiv Sena from Mumbai to Buldhana in 1996 to fight the Lok Sabha election to a seat it had just swapped with the BJP. Adsul managed to win the seat and has since been reelected four times. Known to be a fiery speaker and aggressive. Adsul’s supporters were accused of attacking a newspaper office after the paper published reports about Adsul quitting the party. In the 2014 elections, his rival NCP candidate Navneet Rana had accused Adsul of abusing her.
Criminal cases: One, dealing with defamation.
Arvind Sawant, 62
Has a reputation for taking on those who he he feels have managed mess and hostel facilities badly. He once told The Indian Express in an interview that his first agitation was to protest against the quality of food and residential facilities at a Chennai hostel of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, where he was working as an engineer. He subsequently joined the Shiv Sena and has been part of its trade union wing. He has served as an MLC.
Criminal cases: One declared in affidavit; dealing with criminal intimidation, rioting and wrongful confinement.
Hemant Godse, 38
A civil engineer, Godse is a nephew of a former Shiv Sena MP Rajabhau Godse. He had begun from MNS and contested in 1999 from Nashik, where he gave the Bhujbal family a tough contest, finishing second behind Chaggan Bhujbal’s nephew Sameer. Sidelined in the MNS later, Godse joined the Shiv Sena. Incidentally, he is seen as acceptable to Muslims in his constituency.
Criminal cases: None
Krupal Tumane, 48
A rare Dalit face in the Shiv Sena, Tumane had started off in the Congress through the party’s student wing. He progressed from NSUI to the Seva Dal but was never rewarded with a ticket. His luck changed when the Ramtek seat was reserved and the Shiv Sena, in search of a viable Dalit face, got him on board. He lost in 2009 but came back strong in 2014. Tumane is usually soft-spoken.
Criminal cases: One, damage to public property.
Ravindra Gaikwad, 54
A former professor who taught commerce students of Chhatrapati Shivaji College in Omerga. Simultaneously, also a strongman facing criminal cases including one of murder. Gaikwad, a Maratha, became a Sena MLA in 2004. He lost in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections marginally against Sharad Pawar aide Padamsinh Patil, then trounced Patil in the 2014 elections.
Criminal cases: Eight, including one of murder.
Vinayak Raut, 60
The foremost amongst the second rung of the Sena leadership, Raut is known for his close association with Uddhav Thackeray. He was chosen to take on Narayan Rane in Konkan, beat Rane’s son by a huge margin in the last election. He has climbed the ranks from corporator to MLA (1999-2004) to MP. An efficient organiser, he has been the head of the Sena’s trade union arm the Bhartiya Kamgar Sena.
Criminal cases: Five, including of rioting.
Shrikant Shinde, 27
The youngest male MP from Maharshtra, he is the son of Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde. The soft-spoken orthopaedic surgeon, initially not politically inclined, was given a ticket to counter Anand Paranjape who had been elected on a Sena ticket from the constituency but later switched over to the NCP. The party wanted to project an educated face against Paranjape, who is a MBA.
Criminal cases: None.
Shivaji Adhalrao Patil, 59
One of the industrialist-politicians of Maharashtra, Patil runs a company that manufactures IT hardware. He was not associated with the Shiv Sena until 2004. He was given an election ticket soon after joining and has since been elected MP three times .
Criminal cases: 10, including one of attempted murder.
Rahul Shewale, 41
Mumbai South Central
A civil engineer, a Dalit, and one of the Sena’s youth faces. Got a ticket to an assembly election at age 31; he lost then. He has been the chairman of the standing committee of the BMC. During his election campaign, a policeman was injured in a mob attacked led allegedly by his wife.
Criminal cases: One, cheating and rioting.