March 13, 2019 1:05:27 am
Parth Pawar, 29, son of former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, is all set to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Maval constituency, his maiden foray into electoral politics. The decision to field him apparently has come at the cost of his grand-uncle Sharad Pawar withdrawing from the race. Pawar was said to be keen that not more than two members of his family should contest the elections. Supriya Sule, Sharad Pawar’s daughter, is already contesting from Baramati.
Parth, whose grandfather Anantrao Pawar is Pawar’s elder brother, had focused his attention on Maval, one of the four parliamentary seats in Pune, and had, quite early on, declared his intention to contest from the seat. “I am keen to contest the elections if my party gives me a ticket,” Parth had told The Indian Express last month, while on a visit to Pimpri-Chinchwad. Asked about the lack of political experience, he said, “Well, I have worked very hard on my father’s campaigns.” Click here for more election news
Backed by his father, Parth has been touring extensively in the constituency since last year, addressing rallies, meeting party workers, and taking stock of development work. Local NCP workers were certain that the candidature of Parth from Maval was a mere formality. So, it came as a surprise when Pawar, after having indicated that he might contest the Lok Sabha elections himself, announced in February that only two members from the family would be in the fray. With Sule’s candidature never in doubt, that meant Parth would not get to contest.
A few days later, Pawar, when asked about Parth’s candidature, was quite categorical: “Parth Pawar, Rohit Pawar and Ajit Pawar will not contest the Lok Sabha elections,” he had told reporters on February 20. Rohit Pawar is Parth’s cousin, son of Ajit Pawar’s brother.
Apart from his family connection, the NCP believes Parth has a real chance of winning from Maval, a constituency held by the Shiv Sena since 2009. They point out that though it is Parth’s debut election, he is not a novice and that he has been working behind the scenes for his father and the party. For the last few years, he has been handling the party’s social media operations.
While announcing his withdrawal on Monday, Pawar acknowledged the fact that Parth had made his presence felt in Maval.
“When we select a candidate, we look at the elective merit and the popularity of the candidate. Parth fits the bill. There have been demands from local NCP leaders that Parth should contest from Maval as the party has a good chance of winning the seat,” he said.
NCP leader Yogesh Behl, considered close to Ajit Pawar, said Parth’s “clean, non-controversial image” will work in his favour.
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