Who is Uttam Jankar whom Fadnavis flew down to Nagpur? | Mumbai news

Pune: Fifty-eight-year-old Uttamrao Jankar, a Dhangar leader from Malshiraj taluka, in Solapur, called attention on himself when deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis flew him and other leaders in a charted flight to Nagpur on Monday ostensibly to strengthen the contentious Madha and Solapur constituencies.

Who is Uttam Jankar whom Fadnavis flew down to Nagpur?
Who is Uttam Jankar whom Fadnavis flew down to Nagpur?

It Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) effort to reunite local leaders to face the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) contestants from the two Lok Sabha seats.

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BJP suffered a setback last week when district general secretary Dhairyasheel Mohite-Patil exited the party to join the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar), when it fielded Ranjeetsinh Nimbalkar, sitting MP and prominent Maratha face, from Madha. Nimbalkar will now face Mohite-Patil. On the other hand, Congress has named Praniti Shinde to contest from Solapur against BJP’s sitting MLA Ram Satpute.

Jankar and Fadnavis had an hour-long meeting, which was also joined by party MLAs Jaykumar Gore, Shahajibapu Patil and Nimbalkar. The meeting with Fadnavis, said Jankar “was very positive”.

“He listened to us and responded conclusively to all the issues we put forth. We have now called a meeting with our workers in Solapur district, following which we will take a final call,” said Jankar, who had contested for the assembly elections from Malshiraj in 2009 and garnered around 70,000 votes. As Madha is a prestigious constituency for NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar, who has managed to bring Mohite-Patil on his side, BJP has stepped up efforts to get its flock together.

In both Lok Sabha constituencies, Dhangars have a sizeable vote bank. Rough estimates peg numbers at 10 lakh, hence Jankar’s support for leaders fielded for the both seats is crucial.

Sources close to Jankar confirmed, he was keen to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Solapur but BJP fielded Satpute. “In Monday’s meeting Jankar insisted on an assurance from BJP for his nomination for the Malshiras legislative assembly seat in the upcoming assembly polls,” said a leader in the know.

Jankar started his political journey from his village Dhanoregaon, in Malshiraj tehsil, and was elected vice chairman of the Panchayat Samiti Malshiraj, Solapur Zilla Parishad. He subsequently joined farmer leader Raju Shetti’s Swabhimani Shetakari Sanghatana where he participated in many farmers agitations and helped them get fair prices for their produce.

He was out of politics for a brief span in 2018, when he produced and acted in a Marathi film, ‘Dhumas’, a political drama. He joined BJP in 2019 and expressed his willingness to contest from Malshiraj assembly seat.

On Monday’s turn of events, political observers have said, both BJP and Jankar now need each other, and the union might be a win-win for both parties.

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