Trolling and PhD Claims: Pune Lok Sabha Candidate Ravindra Dhangekar Responds to BJP’s Attacks

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Tikam Shekhawat & Mubarak Ansari

Pune, 1st April 2024: As the winds of election season begin to stir, the Pune Lok Sabha Constituency finds itself in the spotlight. Last year, during the Kasba Assembly by-election, the campaign slogan ‘Who is Dhangekar’ gained traction. Now, Ravindra Dhangekar, nominated by the Congress party for the Pune Lok Sabha seat, is facing criticism regarding his education. But why is Dhangekar being targeted, and how does he respond to the BJP’s trolling? Let’s delve into the details.

Pune Lok Sabha Constituency holds significant importance within the state, often regarded as an emblem of educational prowess. This year, the electoral battle for Pune Lok Sabha sees Muralidhar Mohol from BJP-led Mahayuti and Ravindra Dhangekar from Congress-led Mahavikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition vying for victory.

During the Kasba by-election, Hemant Rasne contested under the BJP banner, launching a campaign against Dhangekar with the slogan ‘Who is Dhangekar.’ Now, the BJP is portraying Dhangekar as an ‘uneducated candidate’ from MVA in Pune, known for its educational institutions.

A certificate pertaining to Dhangekar’s education has become the subject of social media ridicule. Reflecting on last year’s campaign, many have come to know ‘Who is Dhangekar,’ and the votes cast in his favor are likened to a ‘PhD’ for his supporters.

Responding to the BJP’s trolling, Dhangekar stated, “Will they question the education background of Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil and Vasantdada Patil? I hold a PhD in rapport with the people and their development. I understand the needs of the people.”

He highlighted that Karmveer Bhaurao Patil, who founded a school, and Vasantdada Patil, who introduced medical education in Maharashtra, had relatively modest educational backgrounds. Dhangekar clarified that while he is labeled as a fourth-grade pass, he questions why 83 percent of the state’s youth remain unemployed despite claims of educational proficiency.

Asserting his qualifications, Dhangekar remarked, “If opponents wish to belittle my education, it only fuels my resolve. I have earned my PhD among the people of Pune, even if they never awarded me a certificate.”