For two families related by Gopinath Munde’s marriage to Pradnya Mahajan, and living in the same building in Worli, it was the second tragedy to have struck within a decade. In 2006, it had been Pramod Mahajan whose promising political career had come to a sudden end. Pradnya is Pramod’s sister.
On Monday, Munde’s eldest daughter Pankaja, an MLA, had come to the Maharashtra assembly to attend the budget session and raise the concerns of the backward region of Marathawada. The following day, she was acknowledging condolences for her father while her cousin, newly elected MP Poonam Mahajan, stood by her side.
It was in the Worli house that Pramod Mahajan was shot dead by his brother Pravin. Munde, who lived a few floors downstairs, had rushed his brother-in-law to Hinduja Hospital. Munde would later recall that Pramod had said, “What sin have I committed to invite this?” When Mahajan died days later, the responsibility of the two families fell on Munde .
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A few months ago, Munde said, “I could never come to terms with the loss of Pramod, who was my political mentor, friend and guide and brother-in-law.” The family suffered another jolt when Pravin died on March 3, 2010.
At one stage, Mahajan’s son Rahul was hospitalised for an overdose. A police and court battle followed and Munde had hardly seen that settle down when he faced another challenge within the family, with his nephew Dhananjay joining the NCP. Dhananjay was upset as Munde had fielded Pankaja for the Parli assembly election instead of him. Munde’s eldest brother Panditrao too switched to the NCP.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Munde warded off a challenge from the NCP to retain the Beed seat and got the plum portfolio of rural development. Poonam Mahajan became a first-time MP, winning Mumbai North-Central. The two families had been celebrating. Until Tuesday.