Pune: After Getting Lok Sabha Poll Ticket, MLA Ravindra Dhangekar Eyes Repeat Of Assembly Bypoll Win

Pune: After Getting Lok Sabha Poll Ticket, MLA Ravindra Dhangekar Eyes Repeat Of Assembly Bypoll Win

Dhangekar's name figures in the list of seven candidates declared by the Congress in New Delhi for the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra.

PTIUpdated: Friday, March 22, 2024, 12:28 PM IST
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Pune: After Getting Lok Sabha Poll Ticket, MLA Ravindra Dhangekar Eyes Repeat Of Assembly Bypoll Win | X/@DhangekarINC

Congress MLA Ravindra Dhangekar thanked the party leadership for showing faith in him and fielding him from the Pune Lok Sabha seat and asserted he will look to replicate his victory in the last year's bypoll from the Kasba Peth assembly segment here.

Dhangekar's name figures in the list of seven candidates declared by the Congress in New Delhi for the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra.

The Congress leader turned out to be a "giant killer" when he defeated BJP candidate Hemant Rasne in a fiercely contested assembly bypoll from the Kasab seat in Pune in March last year.

Dhangekar expressed happiness over the nomination for the Lok Sabha polls and said he was grateful to the party leadership for showing faith in him.

"I had already started my election campaign as I was confident of getting a ticket for the Pune Lok Sabha seat. I am sure there will be a repeat of the Kasba bypoll (result in Lok Sabha elections)," he maintained.

Mohol Vs Dhangekar 

The BJP has fielded Murlidhar Mohol, a three-time corporator and former Pune mayor, from the Lok Sabha seat in the city.

A former member of the Shiv Sena, Ravindra Dhangekar entered politics inspired by the speeches of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray. He was a Raj Thackeray loyalist and later joined him in the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Dhangekar contested civic elections for the first time in 1997 and emerged victorious. Subsequently, he served as a corporator five times until 2022.

As an MNS candidate, Dhangekar made significant strides in Kasba Peth during the 2009 Assembly elections, where he gave tough competition to the then-incumbent legislator, Girish Bapat of the BJP, losing by just over 8,000 votes. Despite facing defeat, Dhangekar contested against Bapat once again in the 2014 Assembly polls, albeit succumbing to the Modi wave.

In 2017, feeling marginalised within the MNS, Dhangekar switched allegiance to the Congress after his attempts to join the BJP were unsuccessful. That year, he contested as an Independent in the Pune civic polls with Congress support, defeating BJP heavyweight Ganesh Bidkar.

Dhangekar gained prominence in 2022 when he achieved an unexpected victory in the Kasba Peth bypolls, a stronghold of the BJP.

On the other hand, Murlidhar Mohol was selected by the BJP over other contenders such as the party’s former city unit chief Jagdish Mulik and RSS functionary Sunil Deodhar.

At 50 years old, Mohol represents a Maratha face for the BJP. A former city mayor, he has served as a corporator in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) four times.

Hailing from Mulshi, Mohol’s father migrated to the city with his family in search of job opportunities and education for his children.

Mohol, a graduate, also practised wrestling in Pune and Kolhapur. At the age of 12, he attended shakhas organized by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). By 1996, he entered the political arena and became the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha chief for Pune.

In 2002, Mohol contested PMC elections and became a corporator for the first time. His proximity to the late BJP leader Gopinath Munde helped him secure a nomination from Kothrud. Currently, he is known to have close ties with Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

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