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For the love of their children

In a couple of cases, it is also being said the fathers would wait to see the outcome of Lok Sabha elections and then decide the next course of action.

mumbai Updated: Apr 17, 2019 07:00 IST
Shailesh Gaikwad
Shailesh Gaikwad
Hindustan Times
Lok Sabha,elections,Congress
Senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, who is also Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly(HT file photo)

The ongoing Lok Sabha election will also be remembered in Maharashtra for politician dads who would stop at nothing to help their debutant sons in politics.

The most famous case now is of senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil who is also Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly. Vikhe-Patil was considered one of the top Congress leaders in the state who put his position in the party at stake to help his son Sujay contest Lok Sabha election from Ahmednagar constituency.

He first put pressure on his party to get ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to concede the Ahmednagar seat for his son. Sujay meanwhile was in touch with BJP and promptly joined the party as it became clear that the NCP would not part with the seat. Vikhe-Patil is now isolated in the Congress.

He is no more part of the core team of Congress leaders in the state that discusses poll strategy.

A section of Congress and almost entire NCP allege that he was ‘soft’ on Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on the floor of the assembly. On his part, the leader insists that his son took his decision on his own. Will his party trust him again?

The other doting dad is NCP leader Ajit Pawar whose son Parth is now in contesting elections in Maval constituency in Pune district. Even as his uncle and NCP chief Sharad Pawar made it clear that his grand-nephew would not contest elections, Ajit ensured that Parth would get party candidature.

Apparently, there was a discussion within the Pawar family and finally, it was decided to give the party ticket to Parth. It is not a wise move to take on Sharad Pawar, they say in Maharashtra politics. Did Ajit Pawar take that risk for his son?

The third father who also took a political risk for his son is Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, a veteran politician and sugar baron from Solapur district. A long-time aide of Pawar, Mohite-Patil was deputy chief minister and a minister for at least two decades.

In 2014, Pawar asked him to contest Lok Sabha polls from Madha constituency which he did and won.

This time he did not want to contest and instead wanted the party to field his son, Ranjitsinh. Pawar was not keen because the party’s local MLAs were opposed to Ranjitsinh. Mohite-Patil then supported his son to join the BJP.

He has stayed back in NCP but the party top brass expects that he would follow his son soon. Needless to say, he has fallen out of favours in Pawar’s party.

There are some other politician fathers who have taken part in the Lok Sabha battle for their political heirs.

Former chief minister Narayan Rane has fielded his son Nilesh through his Maharashtra Swabhimani Paksha even though he became a Rajya Sabha MP through the BJP. Following its alliance with Sena, BJP is not keen to hurt Uddhav Thackeray. As such, its local leaders are staying away from Rane.

The veteran tribal leader of Congress, Manikrao Gavit, has targeted the party for not giving the ticket to his son from Nandurbar constituency that he represented for decades. He lost to BJP’s Heena Gavit in 2014 elections. This time, the party fielded KC Padvi, a legislator from the district. However, Manikrao got angry and alleged that his party did not consider his loyalty and service of so many years.

However, are these fathers really sacrificing their careers for their sons? Some of them are taking the step to settle their sons but in certain cases, it is also a prelude to what they are planning. In a couple of cases, it is also being said the fathers would wait to see the outcome of Lok Sabha elections and then decide the next course of action.

If the trends indicate that the ruling BJP-Sena combine is likely to retain the power, they would follow their sons. If not, they would stay in the current party.

First Published: Apr 15, 2019 23:55 IST