Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit has always been power centre in NCP

Fondly known as Ajit`dada' among supporters and political rivals alike, the 51-year-old was the youngest Minister in the Congress-led Vilasrao Deshmukh government which came to power in 1999.The man, who is set to become Maharashtra's new Deputy CM replacing Chhagan Bhujbal, made his foray into electoral politics in 1982. He won a sugar co-operative body poll by a good margin.

Ajit Pawar was elected to Lok Sabha from Baramati, Sharad Pawar's pocketborough in western Maharashtra, in 1991. He returned to state politics as MLA from Baramati and was inducted into Sudhakar Naik government.

Pawar, who was in the race for the Deputy CM post last year also, currently handles the Power and Water Resources Ministries in Congress-NCP alliance government. He is also Guardian Minister of Pune district.

He is known for his administrative acumen, planning and vision and the way he has handled key portfolios of energy and irrigation.

Ajit Pawar has a fan following among NCP workers that is envy of other leaders of the party. He is known to keep the media at bayAjit Pawar is the second prominent politician in the state after late chief minister Vasantdada Patil to have the honour of being addressed as "dada" (big brother).

His ascent to the top post in state NCP is expected to silence his detractors who sought to equate him with Sharad Pawar's MP-daughter Supriya Sule on the issue of senior Maratha strongman's political heir.Pawar is married to Sunetra, who looks after his Assembly constituency Baramati in Pune district. He has two sons.

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