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Supriya Sule shining

Daughter of Maharashtra’s most powerful politician,a constituency nourished by daddy dear,rival candidates hardly heard of...

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune |
May 17, 2009 1:57:55 am

Daughter of Maharashtra’s most powerful politician,a constituency nourished by daddy dear,rival candidates hardly heard of… Supriya Sule had everything tailor-made for her in Baramati Lok Sabha constituency. Little wonder then Sule had a virtual cake-walk from Baramati,a constituency where her father reigned supreme for a good 25 years.

Since her candidature was announced months before the elections,the pressure was clearly on Sule to live up to the family reputation,especially her father’s,who simply looked unbeatable from Baramati from where he won five elections since 1984. Once Pawar had even scored the highest margin of victory in the state. But Pawar moved to Madha in Solapur,leaving the safe seat of Baramati for the daughter.

To her credit,Sule,a Rajya Sabha MP and a first-time contestant,did not sit on her laurels. She campaigned hard,tried to reach out to every village and voter in a bid live up to the aura of invincibility surrounding the Pawar family. And in the end,the Pawar daughter did no harm to the family’s image as she won by a margin of over two lakh votes. With a landslide victory,Sule not only enhanced the family’s reputation,but has also,in the process,given enough indications of another “mass leader” emerging from the Pawar stable. Already,the NCP chief’s nephew Ajit Pawar,a minister in the state cabinet,is calling shots in the whole of Western Maharashtra while the senior Pawar has ensconced himself in the national politics.

But even in victory,which was already a forgone conclusion,Sule was humility personified. “The credit goes to my party workers and leaders,they worked relentlessly,” she said. Showing no airs and throwing no tantrums,Sule sat in a pandal at the counting centre for nearly two hours. Sweating,but not complaining. Dressed in a light green saree,Sule looked relaxed. Every time somebody walked up to her to shake hands or say namaskar,Sule rose from her chair to greet them and say a big thank you. Even when her rival Kanta Nalawade came to concede defeat,Sule had the nicety to smile and console her. When a thirsty Sule asked for a glass of water,it took time to arrive. When it finally landed,she shared the bottle with those around her. When a party worker rushed to her with latest updates,an excited Sule exuded,“I am sure we will take a lead of over one lakh votes in Baramati.” And when she was told that villagers of Urali Devachi,Phursungi and the nearby ones gave her a good lead,Sule said,“Despite the agitation,they have voted for me. Now I will have to solve the garbage dump problem on priority.”

She broke into the biggest smile when a party worker told her that two Sanjays were leading in Mumbai.

Sule clearly looked worried when Maval and Shirur results trickled in. “Though I have done well,the loss in Maval and Shirur hurts,” she said. But was she disappointed with her own margin of victory? “After the low voter turn out,I never thought of any record margin,” she concedes.

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