Sharad Pawar backs out, makes way for third generation

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. (PTI File Photo)

In what was a Monday of hectic developments in Baramati in Pune district, the home of the Pawar clan, the NCP witnessed two important decisions.

First, NCP supremo and former Union minister Sharad Pawar (78), a Rajya Sabha member, has decided not to contest from the Madha seat this Lok Sabha elections.

Second, Pawar's grandnephew Parth Pawar, son of former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, will be contesting polls from Maval. 

With this, the Maratha strongman has paved the way for the third generation of the politically-influential Pawar family to formally enter the electoral arena. 

Talking to reporters at the Baramati Hostel, Pawar, a three-time Maharashtra chief minister, said, "There was a lot of insistence that I contest the Madha seat. However, my candidature has not been declared yet."

Twenty-eight-year-old Parth has been into active politics since the last couple of years, and the NCP leadership wants him to contest from Maval, spread over two districts of Pune and Raigad. 

READ: Third generation of Pawar family joins active politics

After delimitation, the Shiv Sena has won this seat twice — Gajanan Babar (2009) and Shrirang Barne (2014).

The Maratha strongman's daughter Supriya Sule would be renominated from the family seat of Baramati. His nephew, and Parth's father, Ajit Pawar is an MLA from Baramati and he would be contesting the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly polls.

It's our victory: CM

Hours after Sharad Pawar decided not to contest the Lok Sabha polls, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the former could sense the political winds well.

"It's victory for us," Fadnavis said, adding that recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that Pawar was one politician who could sense in which direction the winds were blowing. 

When pointed out that his political opponents were of the opinion that fear of defeat made him reconsider his candidature, Pawar said: "I have contested 14 elections, won all of them...do you all think a 15th will deter me?"

Pawar also said that it is improper to have too many from the family contesting elections. "Since already two members are contesting, I felt I should not contest," he added.

Pawar had won the Madha seat in 2009 while in 2014, it was won by NCP's Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, a former deputy chief minister. This time around, either Mohite-Patil or his son Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil may contest.

According to the seat-sharing formula between Congress and NCP, they would get 26 and 22 seats, respectively, and would have to adjust allies.

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