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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Maharashtra parties divided by ideologies, but united by dynasty politics

Interestingly, the ruling parties, Sena and BJP, which have often used the issue to attack the Opposition, have fielded several members of political families as their candidates.

assembly-elections Updated: Oct 06, 2019 07:43 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
The most prominent of the political scions fighting the polls is Shiv Sena’s Worli candidate Aaditya Thackeray, son of party chief Uddhav and the first member of the Thackeray family to contest any election.
The most prominent of the political scions fighting the polls is Shiv Sena’s Worli candidate Aaditya Thackeray, son of party chief Uddhav and the first member of the Thackeray family to contest any election. (PTI)
         

All parties have announced their lists of candidates for the October 21 Assembly elections, nominations have been filed and the campaigning will now gain momentum. And even though their ideologies may be poles apart, a closer look at the lists of the Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) reveal a common thread – political dynasties continue to dominate Maharashtra elections.

Interestingly, the ruling parties, Sena and BJP, which have often used the issue to attack the Opposition, have fielded several members of political families as their candidates.

The most prominent of the political scions fighting the polls is Shiv Sena’s Worli candidate Aaditya Thackeray, son of party chief Uddhav and the first member of the Thackeray family to contest any election. The party has also fielded senior leader Ramdas Kadam’s son, Yogesh, from Dapoli and Mumbai civic body’s standing committee chairman Yashwant Jadhav’s wife, Yamini, in Byculla.

The BJP’s candidate list, too, has included names of relatives of political bigwigs. The party has denied a ticket to senior leader Eknath Khadse, but fielded his daughter, Rohini, from Muktainagar. The party’s former state unit chief Raosaheb Danve’s son, Santosh, has been re-nominated from Bhokardan. The party has denied a ticket to sitting minister Vinod Tawde and fielded Sunil Rane in Borivli. Sunil’s father, Datta Rane, was a minister in the first Shiv Sena-BJP government in the 1990s.

“After five years in the power, the entry of the next generation of leaders is bound to happen. The phenomenon is relatively new for BJP and Shiv Sena, but it has happened as both the parties are looking at elective merit of candidates,” said a BJP leader, on condition of anonymity.

In the Opposition camp, veteran Congress leader Manikrao Gavit’s son, Bharat, will fight from Navapur in Nandurbar, while his daughter, Nirmala, is fielded by the Shiv Sena in Igatpuri in Nashik. Former minister Pandurang Phundkar’s son, Aakash, has been re-nominated from Khamgaon. Former chief minister Narayan Rane’s son, Nitesh, is contesting from Kankavli in Sindhudurg on a BJP ticket after defecting from the Congress.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s grand-nephew, Rohit, is in the fray from Karjat-Jamkhed in Ahmednagar district. His uncle and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar is fighting from Baramati. The NCP’s OBC [other backward class] face Chhagan Bhujbal and his son, Pankaj, are in the fray from Yeola and Nandgaon, respectively. Former state minister Sunil Tatkare’s daughter, Aditi, is the party’s candidate from Shrivardhan.

“At the end of the day, what matters for the party is whether they are winning the seat. It is now being accepted across all parties,” said a senior Congress leader, who did not want to be named.

Experts said parties prefer relatives of established politicians because these candidates can harness local support for their families, have manpower and financial resources to power their campaign.

“Political dynasties are witnessed across the globe. It will remain at least for decades in Maharashtra and India as we look at it as we have accepted the dynasty in every profession,” said Prakash Pawar, a political analyst.