In Ajit’s loss, Baramati has declared who will carry forward Pawar’s legacy - Hindustan Times
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In Ajit’s loss, Baramati has declared who will carry forward Pawar’s legacy

Jun 05, 2024 05:36 AM IST

On Tuesday, the electorate showed where their sentiments lay, as 54-year-old Supriya Sule, Sharad Pawar’s daughter, won the Baramati Lok Sabha seat for the fourth time

Three months before the Lok Sabha polls, when Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar hinted that the Nationalist Congress Party led by him, would field his wife Sunetra as the candidate from Baramati, he appealed to voters to cast their franchise setting aside sentiment, in an attempt to steer them away from the old guard.

Three months before the Lok Sabha polls, when Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar hinted that the Nationalist Congress Party led by him, would field his wife Sunetra as the candidate from Baramati. (HT PHOTO)
Three months before the Lok Sabha polls, when Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar hinted that the Nationalist Congress Party led by him, would field his wife Sunetra as the candidate from Baramati. (HT PHOTO)

On Tuesday, the electorate showed where their sentiments lay, as 54-year-old Supriya Sule, Sharad Pawar’s daughter, won the Baramati Lok Sabha seat for the fourth time.

While the contest between the two factions of NCP was rife with verbal duels and display of muscle power, the battle for Baramati was not political; it was to establish who would hold the reins of the Parivar – and carry forward Sharad Pawar’s political legacy which he had built over six decades. Sule’s win is indicative of her cousin’s reduced political capital, especially when the assembly polls in the state are a few months away. Apart from Baramati, she has also won the assemble segments of Indapur, Daund, Bhor and Purandar.

For Ajit Pawar, who engineered a split in the party in 2023, and joined the ruling faction (BJP and Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde), the defeat of his wife is intense as the couple’s older son Parth Pawar had lost the Lok Sabha polls from Maval to Shiv Sena’s Shrirang Barne in 2019.

Of the four seats Ajit Pawar contested, after hard negotiations with top leaders in the Mahayuti, his party won only one -- Raigad – where state unit chief Sunil Tatkare defeated Shiv Sena (UBT) nominee Anant Geete.

“Ajit Pawar spent much time energy in Baramati, making is a prestigious contest. His defeat has shattered his political clout,” said Abhay Deshpande, political analyst.

He was empowered with the original party symbol and bolstered by his alliance partners BJP and Shiv Sena in an attempt to keep old detractors at bay. His loss is also the BJP’s loss which ambitiously sought to dismantle Sharad Pawar’s dynasty, underscored by BJP leader Chandrakant Patil, in one of his campaigns. “It is our aim to defeat Sharad Pawar on his home turf,” Patil had said.

Reacting to the losing Baramati, Ajit Pawar told workers on Tuesday, “No failure is final. Undeterred by defeat, we should all devote ourselves to public service with renewed vigour, enthusiasm and hope. The NCP and Mahayuti will analyse the results, and based on the conclusion, all workers of the coalition will gear up for the Assembly elections slated to be held in the coming four months.”

This Supriya’s win was not easy though – she campaigned with her father for over 90 days; the two visited almost every village in their constituency, including Pune. With his daughter by his side, Pawar had said he was confident about winning Baramati.

“I have been associated with people there for more than 60 years and know Baramati voters’ psyche. I was confident that people here would take the right decision,” Sharad Pawar said after Sule’s win was declared on Tuesday.

Another family member and NCP (SP) MLA Rohit Pawar’s father Rajendra said, “People of Baramati are smart as they know who to send in Delhi as MP and who should be their representative in the state. So the lead that Sule has got is because of the people here.”

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