Updated: September 30, 2019 2:58:44 am
The state’s oldest elected representative, 92-year-old legislator Ganpatrao Deshmukh from the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP), has decided to pass on the mantle after 57 years in electoral politics, making way for industrialist Bhausaheb Rupnar who was nominated as the party candidate from Sangola. Ganpatrao’s son Chandrakant was also an aspirant for the seat.
The announcement comes almost two months after Deshmukh announced that he will not be contesting the upcoming Assembly elections.
Sources in the PWP said five people, including Ganpatrao’s son Chandrakant and Rupnar, were in the race for the candidature.
“I have chosen someone who can represent me, and can work like me, to contest the Assembly polls,” Ganpatrao told The Indian Express.
He, however, refused to speak on why his son did not get the ticket.
Deshmukh was first elected an MLA in 1962 and has won 11 elections, except in 1972 and 1995. He first became a minister for a brief period in the Sharad Pawar-led Progressive Democratic Front in 1978, and for the second time in 1999, when the PWP supported the Congress-NCP government led by Vilasrao Deshmukh.
According to PWP leaders, it might be a surprise that Deshmukh did not choose his own son to represent him in the Assembly but it was close to certain that Rupnar will be fielded.
“Bhausaheb’s name was finalised in 2014 Assembly polls when Ganpatrao first announced that he did not want to contest. He later contested the polls after many second-rung leaders insisted on it. So, Bhausaheb was the frontrunner right from the beginning,” a leader said.
Deshmukh’s two brothers had set up an industrial unit in Pune in the 1990s and further expanded their business over the years. He took voluntary retirement from government service and set up a garment, spinning mill and educational institute in Sangola around 2007.
The Left-leaning PWP was formed in 1947 for resolving the issues faced by peasants and workers, and it strongly opposed capitalism. At one point, it was among the principal opposition parties in the state.
Asked if he had named a capitalist as his heir, Ganpatrao said, “It will not be right to call him a capitalist. He came from a humble background and his father was a farm labourer. He, along with two brothers, have set up industries on their own through their hard work.”
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