From a 12-year-old member of RSS to the newly-elected mayor of Pune, BJP leader Murlidhar Mohol has come a long way.
It was the role that Mohol played in the Assembly election campaign of Chandrakant Patil, and his efforts to get the state BJP chief elected from Pune’s Kothrud seat, that convinced the party to field him for the coveted post.
Mohol’s first few years in the saffron alliance were spent in the RSS, which he joined when he was only 12. A few years later, he joined the BJP.
“I have been an active member of the BJP since 1990 and have served the party at the grassroots level. I have no family background in politics… it is because of the party that I have reached this position,” said Mohol after being elected as mayor on Friday.
On the projects he would focus on during his tenure, Mohol said he would ensure that mega infrastructure projects in the city were expedited. “There are many major projects being implemented in the city and I will push for their speedy completion to improve civic services,” he said, adding that he will also focus on resolving traffic problems.
Mohol is from Mutha village in Pune district’s Mulshi tehsil. His parents moved to Pune city and settled in Kothrud in 1985.
While in school, Mohol took up wrestling, as the sport was not only immensely popular in Mulshi tehsil, it was also part of a family tradition. His grandfather, father, uncle and his elder brother have all been wrestlers. He moved to Kolhapur so that he could pursue formal training in wrestling as well as his education.
Mohol returned to Pune in 1996, after his graduation, and once again became active in politics. He was considered to be close to late BJP leader Gopinath Munde and former city MP Anil Shirole.
He was nominated to the PMC’s education board in 2002 and was first elected as a PMC corporator in 2006, when he won a civic bypoll. Mohol was re-elected to the PMC in 2007, and in 2012, when the ward he represented was reserved for a woman candidate, he fielded his wife Monika, who became a corporator. Mohol returned to the PMC after the 2017 civic polls, and was entrusted by the party with the crucial post of PMC Standing Committee chairperson.
In the interim, Mohol also tried to make his way to the state Assembly by contesting the state polls in 2009 from Khadakwasla constituency, but was beaten by MNS leader Ramesh Wanjale. In the 2014 Assembly polls, he was hopeful about getting a ticket to contest from Kothrud seat, but the BJP fielded Medha Kulkarni instead. He once again sought the candidature in the Assembly elections this year, but the BJP fielded Patil in what turned out to be a prestige battle for the BJP in the Kothrud seat.
While Patil faced a considerable amount of dissent over the BJP’s decision to field him, Mohol worked hard to get the state BJP chief elected from Kothrud. He also played an important role in getting local leaders of the Shiv Sena, who were upset about the party not even getting a single seat to contest in Pune, to campaign for Patil.