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Munde's daughters vying to retain family turf

india Updated: Oct 12, 2014 13:23 IST
Pankaja Munde

Daughters of the late BJP leader Gopinath Munde are in the poll arena contesting from the Parli Assembly and Beed Lok Sabha constituencies in a bid to retain their father's political legacy.

BJP MLA Pankaja, Munde's eldest daughter, is pitted against her estranged cousin Dhananjay Munde, who is Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) nominee from Parli Assembly seat.

Munde's daughter Pritam will take on former Congress minister Ashok Patil in the Lok Sabha bypoll, which is also scheduled for October 15.

While Pritam seems confident of winning the bypoll, for Pankaja, who is a member of BJP's state core committee, retaining the Parli seat looks a challenging, if not impossible, task, with Dhananjay's rallies also attracting crowds.

Top leaders of BJP, including Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, have addressed campaign rallies for the Munde sisters, while NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar have campaigned for their party nominees in the district.

It was a measure of Munde's popularity that the Prime Minister commenced his Assembly election campaign from Beed with an acknowledgment that had Munde been alive there would have been no need for him to canvass for votes in the state.

Shiv Sena has chosen not to put up a candidate against Munde sisters, while the NCP has not fielded anyone against Pritam as announced by Sharad Pawar soon after Munde's death.

Pankaja expressed her gratitude to Sena president Uddhav Thackeray for not fielding candidates against her and Pritam.

In 2009, except for Parli Assembly segment, NCP won all other seats in Beed district.

"I prefer not to comment on my sister Pankaja. I am seeking votes on development which I brought to this constituency as an MLC," Dhananjay said.