The Adivasi communist who made it to the Maha assembly

The lone communist legislator in the newly elected Maharashtra assembly, CPI(M)’s Vinod Nikole, is a 43 year old Adivasi leader who defeated the BJP’s sitting MLA Pascal Dhanare by a margin of 4,742 votes. He has won from the Dahanu(ST) assembly seat in the Palghar district of Maharashtra. Barely hours away from Mumbai, the hilly villages of Palghar are home to some of the poorest people in the state. Most of them are Adivasis. 

Vinod Nikole, coming from a poor peasant family, is however a full time party member of the CPI(M). He was among the 40,000 peasants who walked the entire 200 Km route of the AIKS-led Kisan Long March from Nashik to Mumbai in March 2018.

The CPI(M) has won the Dahanu (earlier Jawhar) seat for the ninth time since 1978. This is the district of the famed Warli Adivasi revolt in the mid 1940s led by legendary AIKS leaders, Comrades Shamrao Parulekar and Godavari Parulekar.

Among other leaders who addressed public meetings in the Dahanu seat were CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat. The month-long election campaign campaign itself was led by many including CPI(M) Central Committee members Dr Ashok Dhawale and Mariam Dhawale, state secretariat members Barkya Mangat and Kisan Gujar and many other leaders from the constituency.  

In fact the results of the six assembly seats in the Palghar district offer a glimpse into what an united opposition can achieve. The united front of CPI(M), Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), NCP, Congress and Kashtakari Sanghatana has won 5 of the 6 assembly seats – BVA in Vasai, Nalasopara and Boisar, NCP in Vikramgad and CPI(M) in Dahanu. The Shiv Sena won only in the Palghar seat. The BJP was trounced in both the seats that it contested and the Shiv Sena was defeated in 3 seats.

But there was disappointment in store for seven time CPI(M) MLA Jiva Pandu Gavit who lost the Kalwan assembly constituency to NCP by about six thousand votes. Comrade Gavit is known as a firebrand communist leader who was instrumental in organizing the Kisan long march in 2018.

The victory of Vinod Nikole rekindles hope for left wing and other progressive forces in Maharasthra. His tenure in the assembly will be watched closely. 



Related Articles