The sudden death of senior BJP leader and Union minister Gopinath Munde has thrust his second daughter, Dr Pritam Khade into politics.
Pritam, an associate professor at JJ Hospital, until recently, will contest the Lok Sabha bypolls from Beed, the seat vacated by her father.
She faces Congress's Ashok Patil in a contest which is being looked on as one sided. "I plan to take small steps and right now, I want to win the elections,'' she told HT in an interview in Parli.
You have put your career as a doctor on hold to contest the Lok Sabha polls.
I don't think there was much of a choice given the circumstances we found ourselves in after my father's sudden demise. Since then, there was a constant pressure from the people in my father's constituency and party workers that someone from the family should contest the polls and take his place. My mother has never been interested in politics and my younger sister too young, so by default I was the only one who could take this up.
Are you getting the hang of campaigning, being with people constantly?
I am comfortable with being around with people. We have grown up seeing our father as a public figure, who never had a personal life. If you have met my father, you know he would sit here sipping tea with people. That's the kind of life we have led. Apart of this, being a doctor, I am used to communicating with patients and their families daily. So campaigning and public speaking has not been tough. May be it's in my DNA.
Do you see yourself as a politician and what do you plan to do if you win the elections for your constituency?
It's too early to talk about my long term plans. When Modiji came here for a rally in Beed, he said : I am a small man, and I am going to small things. Similarly, I want to take small steps at a time. Right now, I want to win this election, go to the Parliament and then try and fulfil my father's dreams. The first thing I want to get to Beed is better roads. The demand for railway connectivity is pending for decades and only recently my dad had got funds from the Centre for this project. So that's high on the priority list too.
Your elder sister won her first election in 2009, now she is a star campaigner and the face of OBC of the BJP. As someone who's grown up with her, how do see this transformation?
I am not surprised. Right from childhood, Pankaja was the charmer in the family, she had a knack of handling people and getting their attention. So, when she entered politics, we knew she would follow in our dad's footsteps. We just didn't know when that time would come.
I am very proud of her. She's come a very long way from being a housewife to now being considered as a CM contender.