Anil Gote once slapped a wife-beating drunkard and literally got lynched after the drunkard’s abused wife turned against him.
Gote (59), a former member of legislative assembly (MLA), who spent four years behind bars for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore Telgi stamp scam, is now contesting the Assembly election from Dhule. And he says the incident taught him a vital lesson about political life in India.
“In your pursuit towards truth and justice there may be instances when people whom you seek to help turn against you. It shouldn’t, however, stop you from treading that path,” he said.
Once a roving journalist with a national daily, Gote started off by making friends with politicians like former defence minister George Fernandes and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gopinath Munde. A win in the 1999 Assembly polls on a Samajwadi Janata Party ticket propelled him into the big league.
An ambitious Gote then made a political mistake by trying to split the Nationalist Congress Party. That threatened to destabilise the government. He failed in his attempt and it led to the downfall of his political career.
Gote was arrested in 2003 and accused of being an accomplice of stamp scam kingpin Abdul Karim Telgi. He was also accused of using political clout to get Telgi a stamp-vending licence.
Gote unsuccessfully contested the 2004 Assembly elections from behind bars. He got bail in July 2007 on medical grounds. After his release, Gote managed to win eight seats in the Dhule civic body for his Lok Sangram Party.
“It is because of Gote dada that our houses are regularised,” said Dadu Chavan, a bellboy at a local hotel. “He has his finger on the people’s pulse.” Like Chavan, many in the city of 3.33 lakh people look at Gote as a man who gets work done.
Even sitting MLAs hesitate to rake up Gote’s criminal past. “We want to work together for the city’s development,” Dhule’s sitting NCP MLA Rajwardhan Kadambande said. “Gote's arrest is a judicial matter and we don't want to rake up personal issues.”