Pramod Shende, deputy speaker of the Maharashtra assembly, succeeded in getting his son Shekhar, 39, a Congress ticket for the Wardha seat. But, though the senior Shende has been representing the seat since 1978, his political maneuvering to bag the nomination for his son has not gone down well with local Congress workers.
In fact, owing to unprecedented resentment among the rank and file of the party, Shekhar is now finding it very difficult to campaign.
The disgruntled Congressmen are now rallying behind NCP rebel Suresh Deshmukh, who is contesting as an Independent from Wardha. Almost all the major parties have extended support to Suresh.
“Both Deshmukhs — Sunil in Amravati and Suresh in Wardha — have evoked considerable amount of interest for parties and political observers. Both have also succeeded in generating sympathy among their voters,” said Shivaji Ithape, a school teacher from Wardha.
In Amravati, President Pratibha Patil’s son Rajendra Shekhawat got the Congress ticket.
“Don’t compare me with Rajendra. I am in politics since 1991. I was elected Wardha Municipality president in 1991 when I was just 21,” said Shekhar.
He claimed that only a few disgruntled Congressmen were not campaigning for him. “I have already taken up the issue before the party leadership to take action against those campaigning for Deshmukh.”
Shekhar claimed Wardha MP Datta Meghe and other senior leaders were backing him. However, Meghe is busy campaigning in Nagpur and was hardly visible in Wardha.
“People are fed up with the Shendes. The senior Shende has been representing the constituency since 1978 while his son is dominating the municipality for two decades,” Suresh said. “People want a change and that’s why I am getting an overwhelming response from the voters during campaigning.”