In seven districts of western Maharashtra, at least 75 political leaders of major parties have fielded their family members for the Zilla Parishad elections, underlining even local body elections are not immune to dynastic politics.
The unflattering trend was at a full display on Tuesday, the last day to file nominations for the polls which will be held by the end of this month. All major political parties, including the BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP are contesting without any formal alliance.
Besides siting MPs, MLAs and ministers, former lawmakers have also picked their family members from their pockets of strength.
Some of the prominent names who have launched their relatives include Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, former minister Patangrao Kadqm of Congress, Bharatiya Janta Party MP Sanjay Patil, cooperation minister Vijay Deshmukh, Leader of the Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil of Congress, Sena MP Sadashiv Lokhande, Legislative Council Speaker Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, former Assembly speaker Dilip Valse Patil of NCP and NCP MLA Shahsikant Shinde.
In Kolhapur, supporters of Congress leader PN Patil insisted that his son Rahul contest the election. Rahul complied with the demand.
In Solapur, NCP MLA Babanrao Shinde has fielded his two sons — Ranjit and Vikramsinh — from two separate constituencies. Bharat Bhelke of NCP from the same district has managed to bag a ticket for his son Bhagirath while state minister Vijay Deshmukh has secured a ticket for his son Kiran.
Former industries minister and senior Congress leader Parangrao Kadam has fielded his son-in-law Mahendra Lad and daughter-in-law Vaishali from Sangli district. Kadam had fielded his elder brother, Mohanrao, for the Legislative Council election and managed to win it. Devraj Patil, nephew of NCP leader Jayant Patil, is also in the fray while BJP MP from Sangli Sanjaykaka Patil has got a party ticket for his uncle DR Patil.
In Ahmednagar, which is known for cooperative sugar mills, a majority of sitting and former lawmakers have won the tickets for their relatives. They include Radshakrishna Vikhe Patil, Sena MP Sadashiv Lokhande and BJP MLA Bhanudas Murkute.
In Satara, two members of Naik-Nimbalkar family are in the fray. Ramraje Naikl Nimbalkar is a senior NCP leader and Speaker of Legislative Council. His brother Sanjivraje and sister-in-law Shivanjaliraje are contesting the election.
Workers believe that established political leaders are not ready to hand over their good will to somebody else out of the family. Secondly, they are not willing to promote any possible competitor. Workers point out that several political families in Maharashtra have experienced split because of the competitive nature of politics.