The hot topic of debate in Ramtek Lok Sabha constituency that went to poll on April 10 along with 9 other seats in Vidarbha is now focused on two Congress leaders. Apart from the raging talk of the town among voters and political pundits over winning chances of Congress candidate Mukul Wasnik and Shiv Sena’s Krupal Tumane, steaming discussion has been going on the role the Saoner Congress MLA Sunil Kedar and party’s Minister of State Rajendra Mulak would play on the outcome. The fate of Wasnik notwithstanding, these two leaders would be under scanner after May 16 counting of votes. The influence of both Kedar and Mulak on Ramtek seat would decide whether Wasnik enters Lok Sabha from this constituency again or not.
According to sources, Mukul Wasnik was feeling uneasy even before jumping into fray for the second consecutive time for Ramtek seat. The irritating point that was making Wasnik edgy was self-marketing, a style he rubbished in his entire life. Wasnik adopted a single point formula and that is not to sting any worker or leader. On the contrary, he allowed them to run their horses according to their whims and fancies.
In the last election, Mukul Wasnik increased the importance of Saoner MLA Sunil Kedar by making him his “Sarthi” (charioteer). Taking advantage of this importance, Kedar not only embraced his arch rival Ranjeet Deshmukh but activated his own cadre to the hilt in the entire district. However, after the elections, Wasnik showed Kedar his real place but cleverly befriended his opponents and also maintained the newly formed friendship for the last 5 years. And when the 2014 Lok Sabha elections knocked his doors, Wasnik again remembered Kedar but this time Kedar played only politics instead of playing role of a true friend. “Politics is different ball game,” said the pundits. Kedar himself did not leave Saoner till last minute of campaigning and also shooed away his cadre from campaigning for Wasnik. If this fact gains any weightage then Wasnik will most likely emerge loser, sources said.
On the other hand, Rajendra Mulak suddenly taking place as charioteer of Wasnik in this election left the supporters of Kedar-Deshmukh sulking. They saw Mulak as imposing of a new leader on them by Wasnik. Mulak has not provided his services in the larger interests of Ramtek constituency. Mulak is eying West Nagpur segment in the next Assembly elections and has arranged fielding accordingly. Then why this leader was given importance in Ramtek. The common Congress workers were seen distancing themselves away from campaigning. If these facts are true then Wasnik is likely to face the disappointment of his life, sources said.
If both logics are just a political talk then another irrational logic is being pushed forward for a hot debate. According to sources, Mulak and Kedar are being considered close to Nitin Gadkari. Both must have sought his favour for Mulak in facilitating a contes from West Nagpur Assembly seat for which Mulak himself is turning all the tables. This favour could be based on give-and-take formula. Gadkari wants Tumane should not enter Lok Sabha. A win for Tumane may bring him on the same bench (status) with Gadkari and also increase importance of Uddhav Thackeray in the the district. Mukul Wasnik’s victory will create an open field for Gadkari to impose his political plans quiet easily because Wanik neither interferes nor allows any interference. However, whatever the outcome, Kedar is in win-win situation, sources said.
SHIV SENA SITUATION:
Uddhav Thackeray showed his faith in Tumane’s capabilities and again fielded him from the Ramtek constituency. MLA Ashish Jaiswal also threw his might behind Tumane and thus Prakash Jadhav was left with a lost face. The frustrated Jadhav did not jump into full-fledged campaign for Tumane till he was dangled a hefty cash, according to sources. After that Jadhav half-heartedly started taking rounds of campaign.
Most importantly, the day of polling revealed a big difference in temperament between Tumane and Wasnik. Tumane was replying to media queries with simplicity and in a humble way. On the contrary, Wasnik displayed his mentality in knee-jerk reactions. This aspect would also play its crucial role in the outcome.