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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Thane Strongman Kalani BJP MLA Ailani unite for Shrikant Shinde in Ulhasnagar

Thane: Strongman Kalani, BJP MLA Ailani unite for Shrikant Shinde in Ulhasnagar

Updated on: 10 May,2024 08:43 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faisal Tandel |

Surprising alliance raises eyebrows as rivals campaign together ahead of polls

Thane: Strongman Kalani, BJP MLA Ailani unite for Shrikant Shinde in Ulhasnagar

(From left) Pappu Kalani, Dr Shrikant Shinde and BJP MLA Kumar Alani during a campaign in Ulhasnagar on Wednesday. Pic/Navneet Barhate

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Thane: Strongman Kalani, BJP MLA Ailani unite for Shrikant Shinde in Ulhasnagar

In Ulhasnagar, strongman Pappu Kalani and BJP MLA Kumar Ailani, who are usually on opposite sides, are now campaigning together for the Shiv Sena candidate who is also Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s son Dr Shrikant Shinde. This unexpected alliance has surprised many locals and raised questions about the motives behind it. Some people believe it's a sign that political alliances can change quickly, especially when it comes to supporting Shrikant Shinde.

However, the Kalani family insists they're backing Shinde and not the NDA, while Ailani claims they're supporting both BJP and Shiv Sena candidate Shrikant Shinde. Despite their collaboration in the campaign, both will still be in Opposition in the assembly. Their joint campaign in Ulhasnagar on Wednesday caught the attention of many, sparking discussions on social media and reminding people of the long-standing rivalries between the two families.

mid-day looked into Ulhasnagar's political situation and discovered that Dr Shinde has more support there than in neighbouring areas like Kalyan-Dombivli and Mumbra-Kausa. This is why Shiv Sena is focusing on winning over the majority of voters in Ulhasnagar. We also talked to Kalani and Ailani to understand the situation about their unexpected alliance.

Omi Kalani, son of former MLA Pappu Kalani, said, "We announced our support for Shrikant Shinde in the Lok Sabha election a few months ago. On Wednesday, there was a campaign for Dr Shinde in Ulhasnagar, and we were invited to join. We didn't know that the BJP or NDA would also be there. Right now, our support is for Dr Shinde, not NDA. Dr Shinde is doing good work, so we back him. However, our opposition to the BJP or NDA remains. We used to have an alliance with BJP in the councillor election, but this time we'll run independently with the Team Omi Kalani party. I'll also ensure that many of our candidates who didn't get tickets last time will get one this time. It's the same for the assembly; we have our own party."

Kumar Ailani, the BJP MLA from Ulhasnagar, said, "Considering Pappu Kalani's criminal background, he can't contest the election due to pending cases against him. Since they are supporting Dr Shinde, we've joined forces for campaigning. Currently, we're fully dedicated to Dr Shinde and his alliance.”

Ulhasnagar has a total of 2,56,431 voters, including 1,39,338 males, 1,16,998 females, and 95 transgender individuals.  Ulhasnagar's vote bank holds significant importance this time, with Dr Shinde securing the majority of votes in the last election. "In the Kalyan constituency, areas like Kalwa, Dombivli, and Kalyan have diverse populations, including Marathi, Tamil, Kerala, and Uttar Pradesh residents, where Dr Shinde enjoys considerable support," said a source. However, there's apprehension over the influence of the Uddhav Thackeray faction, which could impact Shinde's votes.

Mumbra, with over 2 lakh minority voters, tends to favour the Thackeray faction, posing a challenge. Additionally, in Kalyan East, dominated by BJP MLA Ganpat Gaikwad, there might be a shift, given recent incidents like the firing on Mahesh Gaikwad. This rivalry could affect Shrikant Shinde's vote, as Gaikwad may oppose him indirectly. Sources also mentioned that the 27 villages in Kalyan, which abstained from the last Lok Sabha elections, are now leaning towards Shinde.

Political background

Ulhasnagar has been under Pappu Kalani's influence since 1986 when he became Mayor of the Ulhasnagar Municipal Council. Despite facing legal issues, he served as MLA five times, winning two elections while in jail. The Kalani family held control over the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation from 1990 to 2004.

Fight between Kalani Ailani

Pappu Kalani lost to BJP's MLA Kumar Ailani in 2009 but his wife Jyoti won in 2014 while he was in jail. Ailani reclaimed the seat in 2019, narrowly defeating Jyoti. Despite the loss, Jyoti garnered 41,000 votes. Pancham, Omi's wife, previously served as Mayor of the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation.

Kalani family rivalry with Ailani

On February 27, 1990, an argument between BJP leaders Ghanshyam Bathija and Pappu Kalani over bogus voting led to Ghanshyam's fatal shooting outside Pinto Park. Ghanshyam's brother Inder accused Pappu of the murder, but later, Inder himself was brutally killed in the same park. Pappu was implicated in both crimes.

He was sentenced to life in prison for Inder's murder in December 2013, but in March 2020, he was temporarily released on parole due to COVID-19 restrictions and remains in Ulhasnagar with his family.

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