For Narsaiyya Adam (59), Praniti Shinde is only the daughter of Union Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Adam’s real opponent.
But for 29-year-old Praniti, the battle for the Solapur Central Assembly seat is her own. And she wants to fight it on her own. It is a battle between a suave, English-speaking, law graduate and a veteran Left leader who has been a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) thrice.
But that does not unnerve Praniti who ensures that she does not indulge in any mudslinging against Adam in her campaign. “What should I say about my opponent who is so senior and almost my father’s age?” said the light-eyed budding politician. “I want to tell the voters what I am going to do and the work I have done through the Jai-Jui foundation (her organization).”
A Bombay Scottish High School and St Xavier’s College alumnus, Praniti spent her early years in Mumbai before returning to Solapur where she started social work through Jai-Jui Foundation, a non-governmental organisation working for women and youth.
Praniti, who is trying to learn the dynamics of politics from scratch, meets party workers and corporators to understand ground realities. Her 68-year-old father has addressed only one rally for her and is busy campaigning for the party in other places. These days, she coordinates her campaigning from her bungalow while her rival, Adam, sits in his 30-year-old office with a leaking roof and surrounded by shanties. For Adam, the battle is against Shinde. “I have nothing against her (Praniti),” said Adam. “But the way the Congress is campaigning, it looks like my fight is jana shakti virrudhh dhan shakti (people’s power against money power).”
But the common people’s power is the key and Praniti realizes this. She spends most of her time in areas dominated by beedi workers. Dressed in a purple salwar kameez, she mingles effortlessly with the labourers as she chats with them about their problems. “I want to tell them that given a chance I can bring in a financial package to provide them safety and stability in their life,” she said.
“Concrete assurances of solving problems of labourers in this constituency of three lakh voters can swing the voting pattern,” said political observer Avinash Kulkarni.