Punekars elect 3 new faces as representatives

Elected from Kothrud, Hadapsar and Vadgaon Sheri, they are all first-timers in their early 30s and 40s, with ambitious plans for their constituencies

In a striking pattern, Punekars have elected new, young faces as their representatives in three out of the eight Assembly constituencies in the city. Medha Kulkarni (41) in Kothrud, Yogesh Tilekar (40) in Hadapsar, and the youngest, Jagdish Mulik (33) in Vadgaon Sheri are all first-time MLAs with diverse profiles.

MLA Yogesh Tilekar
Victory lap: Newly elected BJP MLA Yogesh Tilekar celebrates his victory with his supporters outside FCI in Koregaon Park

First-timers they may be, but all three have strong political backgrounds. Kulkarni and Tilekar are both sitting corporators in Pune Municipal Corporation, while Mulik is the general secretary of the BJP’s city unit and also has a corporator for a brother.
Kulkarni has a strong academic background, with top ranks in BSc (Botany), BEd and MEd, and was a college professor before she turned to active politics.

MLAs Jagdish Mulik
MLAs Jagdish Mulik (second from left) and Medha Kulkarni congratulate each other at the RSS HQ in Pune. Pics/ Shashank Sane

Since 2002, she has been representing PMC, and defeated Shiv Sena’s sitting MLA Chandrakant Mokate in Kothrud yesterday.

Resolving the issue of traffic congestion in Kothrud is her top priority. “The main cause of traffic congestion is the lack of alternative routes to Karve Road. I will concentrate on completing proposed new routes between Paud Road
and Balbharti, and from Warje to Kharadi,” she said. She is also determined to save biodiversity park (BDP) reservations by restricting construction on hills within the constituency.

While Kulkarni is an established academician, Tilekar has completed his education till Std 12. However, he has his own aspirations, and wants to address several issues in the constituency, with resolving the traffic congestion and shifting the garbage depot on top of his list of priorities. “Whatever responsibility the party gives me, I am ready to accept it. Giving candidature to a worker like me is in itself a big thing,” Tilekar said.

The dark horse
Jagdish Mulik has emerged as the dark horse from Vadgaon Sheri, and in his early 30s, has the opportunity to surface as the face of the youth for the party. “Mulik is just 33 years old and has a long political career ahead. As the party does not have any young face in the city, both Mulik and Tilekar have this opportunity to bring the party to new heights,” a political observer said.

Mulik, who completed a BA programme from Nowrosji Wadia College, had started his political career in his college days with the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha. Mulik enjoys strong support from the local youth, and wants to solve the long-pending water issue in Vadgaon Sheri.

In a break with tradition, Mulik, who is currently the general secretary for the party’s city unit, did not wait for a corporator’s post, but jumped headfirst into the Assembly election and won in his first attempt.

Tarnished Past

While all three candidates have emerged as winners in their first attempt, two of them are facing criminal cases in which punishment of up to two years can be awarded. Medha Kulkarni and Jagdish Mulik are both facing charges of provoking breach of public peace, manhandling and rioting.

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