The presence of prominent builder D S Kulkarni,the BSPs Pune candidate,has encouraged the party to work on what it calls a socio-corporate engineering formula. His old friends,traders and small-time businessmen and others from the corporate world,have joined his campaign,throwing up an interesting mixture with old-time party workers. All of them say they believe in the ideology of equality.
At the opening of the central election office of Kulkarni in Kasba Peth on Sunday,Kulkarni arrived in his swanky Toyota Prado escorted by some of his corporate colleagues. He landed on time,which was a rare sight for party workers used to delays at political events. Some workers were actually sipping tea at nearby stalls when he drove in.
Till state BSP president Vilas Garud arrived to inaugurate the office,Kulkarni started an informal chat with the party workers. He said he had not wanted them to be kept waiting and so had come before the state president.
Kulkarni explained his corporate-style way of dressing,saying,People tell me I should wear kurta-payjama as I am contesting elections. But I think you should be what you are. I have risen from being nothing to this position with my honest efforts. I used to wear a tie even when I cycled to do painting assignments.
One senior party worker said,It is OK with us if Kulkarni wears a tie. Even Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar used to wear a tie and a suit. We should take inspiration from Kulkarni and his rise.
Kulkarnis old-time friends have also joined his campaign and were present on the occasion. These included traders,retired employees and a theatre owner. We are a group of 10-12 friends. We have no political aspirations. We will be working for him as he is our friend, said Nandkumar Salaskar,a retired employee of KSB Pumps.
Sharad Kulkarni,a stamp vendor,is Kulkarnis friend from college. We have been friends for 30 years. We were in the same class in Garware Commerce College. I will do whatever he wants me to do, he said.
Others included hardcore BSP workers. Sharad Pande,a software professional,has been with the BSP for long time. He left his job in Nashik and came to Pune only to work for the party. I will help the party provide a technical platform to campaign on, he said.
Ramakant Shinde,who had motorcycled all the way from Yerawada to Kasba Peth,said,We believe in the ideology of equality. We have been going to every home in our area to spread the message of BSP.
When Garud arrived at 12.15 pm,party workers cheered. Leaders took a look at the big corporate-style election office complete with air-conditioning,telephones and fax machines. Garud said entrepreneur Janardan Kurhade had joined the BSP.
Anything goes:The BSP would not mind taking the support of the NCP in Pune. We are fighting the Pune seat to win and will do everything to ensure it. Everything is fair in such efforts, said Vilas Garud,state BSP chief. This could be significant,since some NCP workers in the city are not keen to back Suresh Kalmadi,the likely Congress candidate.
Candidate list:The BSP will declare the names of Maratha candidates on March 18. The party will contest all 48 seats in Maharashtra and will declare the entire list on March 23.
Maya rallies:BSP chief Mayawati will hold public meetings at Nagpur and Mumbai on April 8