The anti-corruption crusader and chief of the Aam Admi Party, Arvind Kejriwal, got a shot in the arm when veteran Vidarbha leader and two-time Lok Sabha member from Nagpur Jambuwantrao Dhote decided to support his movement.
The former Lok Sabha member said that he and his supporters will extend their active support to Kejriwal's movement.
Dhote, who was also a legislator for two terms from the neighbouring Yavatmal district, is a strong protagonist of separate Vidarbha. "I have not met Kejriwal so far or called him up to discuss the issues but I salute his selfless and patriotic work," he said and informed that if he gets an invitation to meet the anti-corruption crusader, he will meet him.
Dhote, who once vehemently opposed Kejriwal's mentor Anna Hajare, said that Anna has no vision to lead a movement while Kejriwal has a foresight and pragmatic approach to lead a pro-people movement.
He compared Anna with Brutus of Julius Caesar and said that how the Gandhian tried to embarrass Kejriwal on several occasions on trivial issues. "Why Anna kept mum on irrigation scam of Maharashtra and particularly the involvement of Ajit Pawar in it?" he asked.
He was in Nagpur to meet his supporters, made it clear that he will not join the AAP right now. "However, my supporters have an option to join or just support the movement without joining the party," he said.
An ardent disciple of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Dhote, who started his political career with Forward Block and later moved to the Congress in late 70s before joining Shiv Sena, said that he was disillusioned with the political parties. "I got offers from several parties, including Congress, but I was advised not to join any political party by my well wishers," he said.
Answering a question, he said that the parliamentary democracy is a bi-product of capitalism and hence he has no intention to take a plunge in electoral politics. He regretted that political parties and democratic forums are wasting time on allocation of land to set up memorials of famous leaders, like Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Shahu Maharaj and Shivaji, sideling the basic issues of the people.
Who is Jambuwantrao Dhote?
Dhote, who is known as 'Lion of Vidarbha', was first elected to the State Assembly from Yavatmal in 1962. His membership was suspended when he threw the paper weight to the assembly speaker on the issue of separate Vidarbha. He again won in 1967. Later he contested the Lok Sabha elections from Nagpur in 1972 and won it by defeating Congress veteran Rikhab Chandra Sharma.
He joined hands with Indira Gandhi in 1978 and made an electoral adjustment with the Congress in 1978 state elections. His Forward Block got 22 seats from Vidarbha and four of his supporters were nominated as ministers.
He had contested the 1980 Lok Sabha elections from Nagpur as a Congress candidate and won it with a handsome margin. He later left the Congress and floated a new party - Vidarbha Janata Congress.
He is the son-in-law of veteran Congress leader, Ramrao Adik. His wife, Vijaya was also a Congress legislator from Yavatmal.