Pune: Who will be the Maha Yuti candidate for Lok Sabha in Pune? Murlidhar Mohol or Jagdish Mulik?


Pune: Following the confirmation of the candidature of BJP’s Medha Kulkarni for the Rajya Sabha, predictions are being made about the Lok Sabha candidature. Will former Mayor Murlidhar Mohol or former BJP City Unit Chief Jagdish Mulik get the party ticket? A comparison between the two yields some points, which may be considered while finalising the Maha Yuti candidate for the Lok Sabha elections 2024.

The BJP has been making strides under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since 2014. The BJP has won the Pune Lok Sabha seat in the past two elections by over a margin of three lakh votes. It has also won eight out of eight and six out of eight seats in the past two assembly elections. The party came to power in the civic body in 2017 by winning around 100 seats. At the same time, the party has been monitoring the anti-incumbency factor due to the continuous wins and other political happenings. The BJP and its allies are claiming that they would win due to the Modi charisma in the Lok Sabha polls. In this backdrop, Mohol and Mulik’s personal relations with the leaders in the allied parties and the opposition will be considered.

Mohol is a two-time corporator and has worked on various civic panels besides being the Chairman of the Standing Committee. He was the Mayor for 2.5 years. The Sanskruti Pratishthan headed by Mohol conducts various social initiatives. Being a wrestler himself, Mohol has organised the Mayor’s Cup Wrestling Competition and the Maharashtra Kesari Wrestling Contest, earning a name not only in the city but across the State. He contested the Khadakwasla Assembly elections in the past unsuccessfully.

Following the party’s win in the civic elections 2017, he was given the chairmanship of the Standing Committee and the mayor’s post, which resulted in resentment in the party. However, his work as the mayor during the pandemic in 2020 was recognised by the then CM Uddhav Thackeray and the then Guardian Minister and DyCM Ajit Pawar. This uplifted his image. His friendship has remained intact with Ajit Pawar when the latter joined the Maha Yuti government. Mohol has family relations with Deepak Mankar, who is the NCP (Ajit Pawar) City Unit Chief. These are Mohol’s strong points.

However, former Kothrud MLA Medha Kulkarni has been nominated as a candidate for the Rajya Sabha. Incumbent Kothrud MLA Chandrakant Patil is a minister in the State Cabinet. Former MP Prakash Javadekar is a resident of Kothrud. Mohol has already held two important posts. Hence, a party leader from other assembly constituency can be considered for the Lok Sabha.

Jagdish Mulik was elected as the MLA from the Vadgaon Sheri assembly seat in his first attempt in 2014. He then defeated Shiv Sena’s Sunil Tingre by over 5,000 votes. His brother Yogesh Mulik was made the chairman of the Standing Committee. He implemented various development projects such as roads and flyovers in his constituency. However, he lost to Sunil Tingre by over 5,000 in the 2019 assembly elections. Tingre had fought the polls on the NCP ticket. He is a part of the ruling alliance, along with Ajit Pawar.

A former Vadgaon Sheri MLA Bapu Pathare had withdrawn his support to Ajit Pawar in the 2020 state polls and joined the BJP. Later, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government came to power. The BJP made Jagdish Mulik the party city unit chief. Mulik strengthened the party structure in the city. He also launched various agitations against the MVA government. At that time, Ajit Pawar was the Guardian Minister. Mulik may find it difficult to get along with the NCP led by Ajit Pawar. In fact, a doubt is being raised whether Ajit Pawar would support Mulik’s candidature.

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