Ten years ago, he was struggling to make ends meet. As an autorickshaw driver, Rahul Jadhav sometimes earned less than Rs 200 a day and life was an unending challenge for him. But all that has changed in the past one decade. He is no longer an autorickshaw driver. On Saturday, wearing an attire associated with social reformer Jyotiba Phule, 36-year-old Jadhav entered the PCMC headquarters and hours later was declared the mayor of the industrial city of Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Wasting no time, Jadhav, a Class 10 dropout, announced: “I know the pain of ordinary people like autorickshaw drivers. During my tenure as the mayor, I will work for the upliftment of the poor.” Jadhav then headed to Jadhavwadi, Chikhli amid the noise of firecrackers. Jadhav was taken around in a procession by supporters in Jadhavwadi, leading to some traffic jams.
Jadhav used to drive a six-seater autorickshaw for five years, from 1997 to 2002 in Chikhli, Bhosari and Moshi areas. In 2002, he switched from driving an autorickshaw to farming. Soon, claiming that farming had become unremunerative, he started working as a driver with a private firm. Influenced by Raj Thackeray’s speeches, he joined the MNS when the party was set up in 2007. In 2012, he was elected to the PCMC on a MNS ticket. On the eve of 2017 civic body elections, he joined the BJP and was elected from Jadhavwadi area by a margin of over 3,000 votes.
Meanwhile, breaking from the past tradition where the mayor was chosen unanimously, the PCMC had to hold an election for the post as the NCP refused to withdraw its nominee though the numbers were against it. Jadhav secured 80 votes, much more than 33 polled by NCP nominee Vinod Nadhe. Three corporators from the ruling BJP and three from NCP remained absent. Five Independent corporators voted in favour of Jadhav. The Shiv Sena abstained from voting. Jadhav, who belongs to MLA Mahesh Landge’s camp, will have a one-year tenure as the mayor. The mayoral post is reserved for OBC candidates.
In the deputy mayoral election, Sachin Chinchwade of the BJP secured 79 votes, defeating NCP nominee Vinaya Tapkir, who managed 32 votes. Chinchwade was elected in 2017 elections from Walhekarwadi area. He is a first-time corporator. The mayoral and deputy mayoral elections were conducted on Saturday. PMPML CMD Nayana Gunde was the presiding officer.