KALABURAGI: Gulbarga MP Dr Umesh Jadhav, the giant-slayer, has hit the ground running, and is already turning into a man of the masses. From Day 1, Jadhav meant business, so much so that even during the oath-taking ceremony of the cabinet in New Delhi, he met minister of state for railways and requested him to complete work on the establishment of a railway division in Kalaburagi.
Recently, he visited ESIC Hospital and introduced himself as a doctor to the patients. Jadhav has already visited Kalaburagi airport. He said that he would meet the officials concerned in New Delhi to get Kalaburagi airport up and running, and bring home maximum grants. He visited the Central University of Karnataka in Aland taluk, got information on their needs and provided drinking water on a permanent basis.
His haste for development is apparent, as is his ambition. Just weeks old, the MP wants to hold monthly Jana Samparka Sabha (public contact programmes) in each of the eight assembly constituencies. Just six years ago, before the 2013 assembly elections, Dr Jadhav led a very different life as Chief Medical Officer in the Labour Department Hospital in New Delhi. He may never have imagined that he would become Gulbarga MP, or that he would one day defeat Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge.
It was former chief minister Dharam Singh who had persuaded Jadhav to enter politics. Singh and Kharge were in search of a suitable candidate to defeat then Chincholi MLA Sunil Valyapure of the BJP, of the Waddar community. Umesh Jadhav’s father, Gopal Jadhav, was a freedom fighter and known to Dharam Singh and Kharge. With an eye on the sizable Banjara population in Chincholi, Singh pressured Jadhav to join politics.
A native of Bedsoor (Melina) thanda of Chincholi, and a political greenhorn, Jadhav willy-nilly agreed. He opted for voluntary retirement and returned to Chincholi to be elected MLA in a surprise win. He was made parliamentary secretary of the Department of Health and Family Welfare. In the 2018 election, he was again elected from Chincholi, and nursed the ambition of becoming minister.
Dreams dashed, unhappy with the government over the development of Chincholi, and feeling neglected by then Gulbarga MP Mallikarjun Kharge and his minister-son Priyank Kharge, Jadhav began looking for options. The BJP made an offer and Jadhav struck a deal, which included an assembly ticket for son Avinash Jadhav from the seat he had vacated. He contested, and won, against Kharge, the very man who had helped bring him into politics.
The work he has done, especially on the development of infrastructure in thandas (settlements) of Chincholi when he was MLA, gained him the support of the entire Banjara community in Gulbarga. He was also helped by BJP leaders pitching tent in Gulbarga as part of the election strategy.