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Newsmaker | In the Sena revolt, a two-MLA ‘prahar’ by Bacchu Kadu

Among first MVA partners to defect, Kadu is known for his unique style of 'agitations'

Written by Vallabh Ozarkar | Mumbai |
Updated: June 30, 2022 9:09:56 am
Bacchu Kadu's Prahar Janshakti Party (PJP) was the first partner of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government to offer its support to the Shiv Sena rebel group. (Photo: Twitter/@RealBacchuKadu)

The head of a party that he formed 23 years ago that has all but two MLAs, Omprakash Babarao Kadu a.k.a Bacchu Kadu has emerged as one of the prime players in the Maharashtra political drama.

His Prahar Janshakti Party (PJP) was the first partner of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government to offer its support to the Shiv Sena rebel group, and as per sources, Kadu might be the one picked to move the no-confidence motion against the Uddhav Thackeray government if the floor test goes ahead Thursday.

While the 51-year-old is a recognisable face in Maharashtra, for his brash style of politics, and his impressive record of four consecutive wins from Achalpur Assembly seat in Amravati, this is Kadu’s first brush with national limelight.

He is the only Achalpur MLA to have achieved that feat – having held the seat since 2004, first as Independent and later as a representative of the PJP, which he founded in 1999. In 2014, he won the seat defeating Congress candidate Bablu Deshmukh by more than 10,000 votes; in 2019, he increased his victory margin to 81,252 votes, or 44% of the total, when he fought in alliance with the Congress and NCP.

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For his support to the MVA coalition government, which needed all the numbers it could get to survive against an aggressive BJP, Kadu had been rewarded with the post of Minister of State for Water Resources and Guardian Minister of Akola district.

While the PJP espouses the cause of farmers, labourers, homeless and the disabled, Kadu has made a name for himself for his unique style of “agitations”.

Last year, he had disguised himself in a Pathani suit and a skull cap and passed off as “Yusuf Pathan”, so as to “evaluate the running of government offices in Akola”, where he is the Guardian Minister. He had bought gutkha worth Rs 9,000 from two shops selling the same illegally, which were later raided, even as Kadu (after taking his disguise off) held forth on the harmful effects of gutkha.

Similarly, Kadu’s ‘Yusuf Pathan’ had visited a Tehsil office and a cooperative bank, and offered a bribe for getting a ration card made and for getting agricultural loans sanctioned, respectively. Both officials had declined his offer. Kadu had later felicitated the bank official.

In April 2017, BJP MP Hema Malini had threatened to take action over Kadu’s remarks on her.

In February this year, the BJP had accused Kadu of hiding information about the properties he owned in his election affidavit and demanded his resignation.

The MVA certainly didn’t expect to find him on the rebel side, and was as surprised as the others when Kadu had surfaced in the company of the Eknath Shinde camp.

Perhaps there had been one hint of the same: During the Legislative Council election immediately preceding the rebellion, in which the BJP had managed to secure extra votes from the MVA camp, Kadu had told the media that the state would have a “PJP CM”.

It won’t come to that, but as Maharashtra looks set to get a new government, Kadu might be closer to power than he has ever been.

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First published on: 29-06-2022 at 05:01:40 pm

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