Once a vada pav seller, now an MLA: Meet Vinod Nikole

The 43-year-old CPI (M) candidate is the 'poorest' of the 288 newly-elected MLAs of Maharashtra with assets amounting to just Rs 52,082.

Vinod Nikole of the CPI (M).

He once sold 'vada pav' in the tribal area of Dahanu in Palghar district. Now, he holds a place in Maharashtra's Vidhan Bhavan. In fact, the 43-year-old Vinod Nikole of the CPI (M) is the 'poorest' of the 288 newly-elected MLAs of Maharashtra with assets of just Rs 52,082.

Nikole polled 72,068 votes defeating the sitting BJP MLA Paskal Dhanare who polled 67,326 votes, and his victory margin was 4,742. 

Even before the swearing-in of the new MLAs, Nikole has got going. "There are issues of infrastructure and medical facilities. We have malnutrition in the district. I have already started working. I held a meeting of doctors to discuss the issue," Nikole told  DH.

Nikole is a member of the CPI(M) Maharashtra State Committee and has been a party whole-timer for the last 15 years since 2005. He is the state secretary and Thane-Palghar district secretary of the CITU and was a member of the DYFI state committee till he was relieved earlier this year at the state conference. 

"I joined the movement in 2005. I am a full-timer. I used to get Rs 500 and now I get Rs 5,000," he said, adding that his wife, Babita, an ashram shala sevika, gets Rs 2,000. The couple has two kids. "We all stay with my parents and we have a small stretch of land," he said.

All India Kisan Sabha president Dr Ashok Dhawale, who is also CPI(M) central committee member, said, Nikole 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 Nashik-Mumbai march ended at Azad Maidan but a delegtion of AKIS leaders went to Vidhan Bhavan for discussions with former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his team. Nikole was with the potestors in Azad Maidan. Today, he is their voice in Vidhan Bhavan.

Nikole said that the implementation of the Forest Rights Act is in his agenda. "I will raise this issue in Vidhan Sabha," he said, pointing out that his father used to work as a farm labourer. Because of his financial condition, he has to drop out of higher education. He opened a vada-pao and tea stall in Dahanu city.

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