MALLIKARJUN PUJARI, a candidate of Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, filed his nomination from Thane constituency on Friday. Pujari — the 48-year-old former Navi Mumbai president of the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP), belonging to the Dhangar community — said his modest background would make him understand the “issues of the marginalised sections in his constituency better”.
The son of a former truck driver, Pujari, according to his nomination affidavit, has completed schooling till Class IV. He worked in the construction business before joining full-time with the RSP. “My father migrated from Solapur before I was born and worked as a truck driver for a company. In my constituency, there are issues related to health of those living in slums, their housing as well as employment, which previous MPs have not paid attention to,” said Pujari. He added that after meeting Ambedkar, he decided to contest the Lok Sabha polls as it was an “opportunity to bring representation to the marginalised communities”.
“People had a lot of expectations from the BJP during the previous elections, which were not fulfilled in the last five years. I will be campaigning door-to-door, during morning walks as well as at nakas to reach out to the voters,” he said.
In his affidavit, Pujari, a resident of Koparkhairne in Navi Mumbai, has declared his annual income at Rs 2.25 lakh in 2017-18. He has Rs 60.53 lakh in loan taken from a bank to purchase an excavator. He has no criminal cases against him. The other nominations received so far in the Thane constituency are from parties including Republican Bahujan Sena, Ambedkarite Party of India and Jan Adhikar Party.