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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

2019 Lok Sabha elections: Maharashtra’s dynasty politics

At least a third of the 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra have at least one member of a political family contesting.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 14, 2019 01:01 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Sujay’s step is seen as a setback for Vikhe Patils, one of Maharashtra’s prominent political families
Sujay’s step is seen as a setback for Vikhe Patils, one of Maharashtra’s prominent political families(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Candidature is their birthright in dynasty politics, and they shall have it – the next generation of leaders from Maharashtra’s political families is swearing by the dictum ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. And the belief has translated into ambitious and even aggressive actions in the past few weeks. While Sujay Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil entered the BJP, at a time when his father’s party, the Congress, is fighting a bitter battle against the ruling alliance, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had to make way for his grand-nephew and Ajit’s son, Parth.

Sujay’s step is seen as a setback for Vikhe Patils, one of Maharashtra’s prominent political families. While Vikhe Patils are blaming Pawar for the move, the latter himself had to succumb to the pressure by Ajit, despite a public announcement that he would contest.

A former Congress minister explains the scenario. “The new generation is in a hurry to make it big. At 36, Sujay thought it was now-or-never for him to become an MP and took on even his father without caring about the latter’s political future. Pawar appears to have compromised against his will to launch Parth,” he said.

At least a third of the 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra have at least one member of a political family contesting. “These families tend to be closer to the power centres or ruling parties to safeguard their family businesses or get rid of the irregularities. As political power becomes imperative for their businesses to flourish, the introduction of the next generation becomes inevitable,” said Bhalachandra Kango, CPI leader.

Almost every district in western Maharashtra has its own political family to reckon with. NCP state chief Jayant Patil and Congress leader Pratik Patil belong to a family with strong presence in politics and cooperative sector in Sangli. Pratik, a former union minister, is grandson of former CM Vasantdada Patil and son of former MP Prakashbapu Patil. Jayant Patil, a powerful leader from Sangli, is the son of former state minister Rajarambapu Patil. The tussle for control over district politics between two families surfaces regularly, latest being the corporation election late last year.

Mohite Patils enjoy their bastion in Solapur, with the baton passed on to the next generation leader Ranjitsinh, who was an NCP legislator in the upper house. Son of former deputy chief minister Vijaysinh, the young politician is exploring the possibility of joining the BJP if the NCP neglects him. Sushilkumar Shinde, a former CM, and his MLA daughter Praniti have established themselves as key leaders from the district. In the adjoining Kolhapur district, Satej Patil, son of former Bihar governor DY Patil, and MP Dhananjay Mahadik are carrying the legacy forward. The power struggle between rural development minister Pankaja Gopinath Munde, her MP sister Pritam Munde (both BJP) and their cousin Dhananjay is apparent in every election in Beed. Dhananjay and Pankaja are likely to be pitted against each other from Parli in Assembly election later this year.

Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan enjoys undisputed control over Nanded, the district nurtured by his father Shankarrao Chavan and is sure of the victory of his MLA wife Amita this time. In Latur, the feud between Patil-Nilangekar family members has no signs of settling down. Former CM Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar (Congress) have political rivals within the family, in his grandson Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar, who is the labour minister in the BJP-led state. Sambhaji had defeated his uncle Ashok in the 2014 Assembly polls.

Just a few km away in Latur, Congress MLA Amit and his brother and ZP member Dhiraj have been taking political legacy their father and former CM Vilasrao Deshmukh forward. Amit’s uncle Dilip was MoS in Shinde’s cabinet. Vilasrao was mentored by Ashok Chavan’s father and former chief minister Shankarrao Chavan.

In North Maharashtra, senior BJP leader and former revenue minister Eknath Khadse’s daughter-in-law Raksha is an MP, while his wife Manda is chairman of Mahananda, the cooperative dairy federation. NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and his nephew Sameer and son Pankaj call the shots in Nashik. Sameer is likely to be the party candidate for Lok Sabha, while the father-son duo may contest the Assembly polls.

BJP leader Vijay Gavit has political control over Nandurbar district. He defected the NCP ahead of 2014 elections to ensure a ticket for his daughter Heena, who is an MP. Vijay Gavit’s younger brother Sharad was an MLA until 2014.

Narayan Rane and sons Nilesh and Nitesh have a stronghold over Sindhudurg. Nilesh has been announced as MSP’s candidate. Nitesh, who is an incumbent Congress MLA, is likely to join the MSP ahead of the Assembly polls.

Thackerays are perceived as the ‘first political family’ of Mumbai. Sena founder Bal Thackeray’s decision to make son Uddhav, and not nephew Raj, the political heir, led to the latter forming his own outfit, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, in 2006. Uddhav’s son and head of party’s youth wing , Aaditya, has no competition within until his younger brother Tejas joins politics. “Politics is being treated as a full-time business with no ethics, loyalty, ideology or compassion to play a role. Families are interested only in safeguarding their own interests,” said social commentator Kumar Saptarshi.

First Published: Mar 14, 2019 01:01 IST

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