Mumbai: "What is my mistake? Is it wrong to be loyal to the party?" asked the Bharatiya Janata Party's Medha Kulkarni with tears in eyes, after the party reneged on its promise to give her a ticket to the legislative council election.
She had been elected legislator from Kothrud in Pune city in the 2014 assembly election. In the 2019 assembly election, the BJP state president, Chandrakant Patil, who is from Kolhapur, decided to contest from the Kothrud assembly constituency. At that time, he was a member of the legislative council and was expected to contest from his native Kolhapur city. But fearing defeat in the event of his contesting from there, he decided on Kothrud, considered a BJP bastion, as it has a large number of Brahmins, who are traditional BJP supporters. After initial opposition from Kothrud BJP workers and Kulkarni, Patil finally managed to persuade Kulkarni, promising to accommodate her in the next election to the legislative council.
“Chandrakant Patil made this promise at several meetings and public rallies during the assembly election. He claimed he even kept promises he gave in his sleep. This is one he has made publicly. Even the then chief minister, Devendra Fadanvis, had promised me to send me to the legislative council. Until the list of candidates was announced, I was certain that Patil and Fadnavis would keep their word. But I have been disappointed,” said a sobbing Kulkarni.
“I have devoted my life to the BJP. I have strengthened the BJP in my constituency so that Patil was confident that anyone from the BJP could win from here. Was doing so my mistake? Was my good performance as a legislator my mistake? Then why have I been denied a ticket? I remained in touch with all key party leaders and they assured me I would get one,” she lamented.
“When Patil contested the election, BJP workers and my supporters requested me to contest as an Independent. But I rejected such requests and remained steadfastly loyal to the party. The MNS candidate Kishor Shinde, who could not win a civic poll, got 80,000 votes against Patil because there was outrage over my being denied a ticket,” she claimed.