Prithviraj Chavan’s relatives were very reluctant, in fact opposed, to him being appointed chief minister. They feared the mud-slinging endemic to state politics would affect his clean image.
Members of the Chavan family gather every year at their ancestral home in Kumbhargaon village, 20 km from Karad. This year was no exception and Prithviraj was there with his family on the first day of Diwali. The possibility of him being named chief minister was discussed in detail.
Rajendra Chavan, deputy sarpanch of Kumbhargaon and a cousin of Prithviraj’s, recalled that Panjabrao, Prithviraj’s uncle and the seniormost member of the family, asked him not to join state politics. “Most of us fear that Baba, as Prithviraj is affectionately called, would become tainted by the murkiness of state politics,” said Rajendra.
Sources close to the family said Prithviraj himself was reluctant to shift to Mumbai. However, it was clear he would have no option if the Congress high command asked him to do so. “It is because of our loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family that he accepted the post,” said a member of the family
Prithviraj visits Kumbhargaon during Diwali and Navratri and also during the village’s annual jatra (pigrimage). He owns 1.5 acres of agricultural land in the village, which is where he was born and spent his childhood. Despite the family’s reluctance, villagers took out a celebratory procession in the morning, distributed sugar and garlanded the village deity Goddess Laxmi.