Mumbai: The Congress high command may be loath to encouraging dynastic politics in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and the BJP may take pride in being a cadre-based party but that has not stopped senior leaders of both in Maharashtra to seek Assembly tickets for their children.
And leading the list is none other than President Pratibha Patil’s son Rajendra Singh Shekhawat who is seeking a Congress ticket from the Amravati seat in Vidarbha. Party officials say he stands a good chance of securing it, ahead of Sunil Deshmukh, serving MLA and Minister of State for Finance, Water Resources and Parliamentary Affairs.
Shekhawat’s claim to fame, apart from the fact that he is the son of the President, is that he is involved in running the institutions established by his mother, including the Vidyabharati Shikshan Sanstha that runs educational institutes. Deshmukh, however, has made it clear that he would insist on a ticket as he has served two terms and has nurtured the constituency.
NCP chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar is seeking re-nomination from Baramati constituency. Ajit Pawar is serving his third successive term in the Assembly and is the Minister for Water Resources. Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule has already been elected to the Lok Sabha from Baramati — the constituency nurtured by her father — prompting him to shift to another constituency — Madha (Solapur) — to enter the Lok Sabha.
Veteran Congress leader and Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s daughter Praniti is seeking a ticket from Solapur city. In 2004, Shinde’s wife Ujwala had contested the Solapur Lok Sabha seat, but was defeated by BJP’s Subhash Deshmukh. In the recent Lok Sabha elections, Shinde got elected from the constituency. Shinde’s son-in-law Raj Shroff is interested in contesting from the Malabar Hill constituency in Mumbai, Congress sources said.
Across the political divide, BJP’s general secretary Gopinath Munde has succeeded in getting tickets for his daughter Pankaja and Poonam Mahajan, the daughter of slain BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, his brother-in-law. While Pankaja will contest from Parli constituency in Munde’s stronghold of Beed district, Poonam has been nominated by the party from Ghatkopar (West) in Mumbai.
Union Minister for Heavy Industries and former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who succeeded in making his brother Dilip Deshmukh a member of the state legislative council and Minister for Sports, is now seeking a ticket for son Amit from Latur (Rural). Until now, Amit has been looking after the family business and managing his father’s election campaign. Former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil’s daughter-in-law Archana is interested in contesting from Latur (City) constituency.
Deputy Chief Minister and OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP) is seeking another term from Yevla (Nashik) constituency. His nephew Sameer has already been elected to the Lok Sabha from Nashik, while Bhujbal’s son Pankaj is seeking nomination from Nandgaon in Nashik.
Maharashtra’s Minister for Industries Narayan Rane — who switched over from the Shiv Sena to the Congress in 2005 — is seeking a ticket from Kudal, as his Malwan seat has been wiped off the map in the delimitation exercise. Rane’s elder son Nilesh got elected to the Lok Sabha from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency and now, his younger son Nitesh, who is a Youth Congress office-bearer in Mumbai, is seeking a ticket from Kandivali or Chembur in Mumbai.
The president of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) Manikrao Thakre’s son Rahul is seeking a ticket from Digras constituency in Yevatmal district in Vidarbha region. Charulata Tokas, daughter of his predecessor and now Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Prabha Rau, is interested in contesting from Deoli in Wardha district.
State Environment Minister and NCP leader Ganesh Naik’s son Sanjeev Naik got elected to Lok Sabha from Thane recently. Now, his second son Sandeep is seeking a ticket from Belapur (Navi Mumbai). Former Union Minister and veteran Congressman Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil’s son Radhakrishna is Minister for School Education. Vikhe Sr is in political wilderness after his Kopargaon Lok Sabha seat was wiped off in delimitation, renamed Shirdi and placed under reservation. Radhakrishna is seeking an Assembly ticket from Shirdi (Ahmednagar).