Pune bypolls: Vexing flex situation for BJP at Brahmin-dominated Kasba Peth
By announcing Hemant Rasane, a non-Brahmin, as a candidate for Kasba Peth bypoll, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is at risk of becoming the target of the Brahmin communities ire
By announcing Hemant Rasane, a non-Brahmin, as a candidate for Kasba Peth bypoll, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is at risk of becoming the target of the Brahmin communities ire.
This was clearly seen when unknown people in Kasba Peth put up banners appealing resided to vote for NOTA. This is the second time such an incident has happened, thus making it a talking point. These banners have become the major highlight, and has increased the pressure on the BJP.
Kasba Peth constituency has long been dominated by Brahmin voters and candidates.
Either it was member of Kakasaheb Gadgil family, Girish Bapat or Mukta Tilak. The Congress or BJP usually preferred to field Brahmin candidates in Kasba Peth considering the sizeable number of voters from the community. There is no official data available, but estimates suggest Brahmins account for around 13 per cent in the constituency, which is seen as a massive demographic change.
After the death of Mukta Tilak, her husband, Shailesh Tilak expressed interest to contest the election. However, the BJP denied the ticket to Tilak family and gave chance to Hemant Rasane, a non-Brahmin face. Rasane, a four-time corporator from the same area is also a trustee at Dagaduseth Halwai Ganesh temple.
When party denied him ticket, Shailesh Tilak said on record that the party’s decision will invite anger from Brahmin community. Immediately from the next day, banners by unknown persons were put at various locations.
After that, for the second time on Saturday, banners came up mentioning, “Kasba is of Gadgils, Bapat and Tilak. Now we the voters will choose NOTA, instead of voting for any candidate.”
The BJP members claim that members of the opposition parties have intentionally put these banners as they would benefit from it.
Earlier on February 6, BJP state unit chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule while reacting to disappointment among Brahmin voters said, “The Brahmin community has always backed BJP and this time too, Rasane will get their support. The entire community has been a solid support.”
Rasane too had commented saying, “The BJP is a parivar and whoever gets ticket, all the supporters back him. The voters too are behind BJP.”
Many BJP leaders also felt that such banners are being put up by opposition to obfuscate the voters. “No matter what opposition does, BJP candidate Heman Rasane will emerge victorious from this seat,” said another BJP leader.
At Kasba Peth seat, Rasane is locked in close contest against Congress nominee Ravindra Dhangekar.
At the same time, some BJP members claim that one of the section from Brahmin organisation whose leadership is not accepted by Brahmins are putting these banners.
On the other hand Congress party is enjoying this move as it is increasing more pressure on BJP candidate.
In Chinchwad assembly constituency too, banners by unidentified persons came up on Saturday targeting Shiv Sena rebel Rahul Kalate, who refused to withdraw his nomination despite senior leaders including Uddhav Thackeray and Ajit Pawar trying to convince him. The banners put up at various locations questioned Kalate’s loyalty as Shiv Sainik.