The Bharatiya Janata Party had managed to ignore Rekha Khedekar’s anti-Brahmanical and anti-Hinduism stance when it came to giving her a ticket. Rekha, wife of Purushottam Khedekar, who commands rabid anti-Brahmanical and anti-Hinduism outfits like the Maratha Seva Sangh and Sambhaji Brigade, had been the party’s choice for the Chikhli Assembly seat in Buldana district for the last three terms because of her “winning merit”. This, despite strong opposition from the RSS Buldana unit.
Things turned out to be different this time around. The RSS stepped in and warned the top BJP leaders against choosing Khedekar for the fourth time. The pro-Khedekar BJP stalwarts — party leader in Legislative Council Pandurang Phundkar, Gopinath Munde and state BJP president Nitin Gadkari — had to replace her with the man the RSS chose Prakash Jawanjal, president of Warkari Mahamandal, a body of devotees of Pandharpur deity Lord Vittha.“We have been tolerating this nonsense for a long time. The Khedekars have been targeting Hinduism and Brahmins for long. They have also set up another religion called Shiv Dharma as an anti-thesis of Hinduism. How can the BJP give her ticket?” a senior RSS leader from Chikhli told The Indian Express, on condition of anonymity.
“At Sindkhed Raja during Jijau Mahotsava (festival to commemorate Shivaji’s mother Jijabai) in January this year, Sambhaji Brigade activist Mahesh Chavan, who had hurled a chappal at RSS chief K S Sudarshan at the function in Solapur a few years ago, demanding a Shivaji memorial, was honoured by her husband Purushottam Khedekar,” the RSS leader said. “And these BJP leaders were bent on giving her ticket again. What should we call this ? Aaplech daat, aaplech oth (it’s like our own teeth cutting into our own lips),” he added.
The Shiv Dharma website carries the photo of Chavan’s felicitation proudly mentioning that “he planted a chappal on Kudarshan’s (Sudarshan’s) face.” Incidentally, Chavan was also one of the Sambhaji Brigade leaders who had attacked the Bhandarkar Institute in Pune at the time of the James Laine book controversy.
“They have a separate religion and a separate political party (Shivrajya Party) too. Why doesn’t Khedekar stand on her own party’s ticket?” the RSS leader added. Sources in the Shivrajya party, which has fielded Jaishree Shelke, said, “She knows she can’t win in Shivrajya Party’s name.”
Phundkar admitted that Rekha Khedekar’s presence at the function to felicitate Chavan was the main reason for the RSS making sure she was denied a ticket. “We — Gadkari, Munde and I — were of the opinion that she was a winning candidate and hence should be a given ticket. But the Sangh Parivar was against it. So, we are now fully behind our candidate Prakash Jawanjal.”
Vivek Deshpande, Indian Express, 29 Sep 2009