Anil Jadhav, 35, will contest from the Pune Lok Sabha parliamentary seat as a Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi candidate. While the BJP-Sena and NCP-Congress are yet to announce their candidates from Pune, Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi announced a list of 37 candidates on Friday. Baramati will see Navnath Padalkar, 43, taking on NCP’s Supriya Sule in the general elections.
Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, Prakash Ambedkar, Vanchit Bahujan candidate, AIMIM
The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi is an alliance of Ambedkar’s Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh and Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM. Both the candidates told The Indian Express that there was a need for change. “We have been cheated, duped and never had our say with any government. We have held demonstrations and placed demands upon demands, but our deprived communities have always remained neglected, “ both Jadhav and Padalkar said.
Jadhav hails from the Wadar community — a denotified tribe in the state. Involved in construction business and farming, Jadhav said he was also engaged in social work for the last 12 years. A youth leader of the Wadar Samaj, Jadhav said their community was marginalised and exploited.
“We are told surveys are underway about the economic exploitation, but no tangible results are seen on the ground to help the marginalised community. We organise gatherings and have conducted several rallies to raise our demands,” Jadhav said, adding that he would focus on corner meetings and door-to-door visits as a key strategy for his campaign.
Padalkar, who has degrees in Bachelor of Metallurgical Engineering and MA political science and is also a sportsperson, has been one of the frontrunners in the campaign to demand implementation of ST reservations for the Dhangar (shepherd) community. As of now, the Dhangar community gets reservation under Vimukta Jati & Nomadic Tribes (VJNT) category of the state.
The Dhangars mainly live in the Marathwada and Western Maharashtra regions and form nearly 9.5 per cent of the state’s total 11.25 crore population. Politically, they are significant in four Lok Sabha constituencies — Baramati, Madha, Solapur and Satara. The Baramati candidate, who is also one of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi’s founder conveners, has been involved in the campaign to ensure ST reservation for the Dhangar community since 2001.
In 2014, Padalkar was the spokesperson and state convener of the Dhangar Aarakshan Andolan, while in 2016-17, a series of protests were led by him and others in New Delhi. “Our community has suffered at the cost of Congress and NCP’s casteist politics. Promises have been broken. But Devendra Fadnavis-led government is no different. We have organised a series of protest marches and have now decided to come together under the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi banner,” Padalkar said.
The Baramati candidate decided to embark upon his campaign by taking blessings from the family deity of CM Devendra Fadnavis at Nira Narsinghpur temple and said they had vowed to do away with the Modi government.