Mumbai: Maharashtra will witness many politicians battling it out against their relatives who are contesting as candidates of rival parties to enter the Assembly.
Ashish Deshmukh, nephew of Nationalist Congress Party leader and Food and Civil Supplies minister Anil Deshmukh, is pitted against his uncle in Katol, which Anil has been representing since 1995.
Ashish, who is a BJP candidate, is the son of former State Congress chief Ranjit Deshmukh while his elder brother Amol is the NCP candidate from Ramtek for the October 15 polls.
Ashish said he was always with the BJP and contested the 2009 Assembly polls from Saoner.
"I lost narrowly. I am a supporter of smaller states which the BJP advocates. NCP has done injustice to Vidarbha and I want to ensure that NCP does not get a single seat in the region," he told a news agency, asserting that political ideologies do not come in way of family relations.
His brother Amol was interested in getting a ticket from the Congress. But the party fielded Shiv Sena leader turned Congressman Subodh Mohite. Instead of contesting as an independent, Amol went into the NCP fold.
Politics drove a wedge in the family of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde when he chose his eldest daughter Pankaja to replace him in Parli assembly constituency in 2009 over his nephew Dhananjay.
Dhananjay, who was made an MLC, quit the BJP to join NCP. This assembly poll, the two cousins are pitted against each other.
Pankaja, who has been brought to the centrestage of BJP state unit after her father's sudden demise, is seeking re-election from Parli while estranged cousin Dhananjay is the candidate from the Sharad Pawar-led party.
Congressman Sanjay Devtale jumped on to the BJP bandwagon after his party fielded his sister-in-law Asawari Devtale from Warora instead of him. Now, Devtale is pitted against Asawari who is making her electoral debut.
Asawari, a gynaecologist by profession, told a news agency that she felt sad that politics has created tension in her family.
"My mother-in-law and Sanjay Devtale's mother are sisters. Sanjaybhau is the first cousin of my husband Vijay. We are a close joint family," she added.
The break-up of alliances in Maharashtra, especially, has led members of many 'political families' to contest from rival parties, according to observers.
Among those who lead the pack is the family of former NCP leader and minister Vijay Kumar Gavit, who is contesting on a BJP ticket from his constituency of Nandurbar.
His younger brother Sharad Gavit, who had defeated veteran congressman Surupsing Naik in 2009 from Navapur on Samwajwadi party ticket is now in NCP taking on Naik again from the same constituency. Another brother Rajendra Gavit is the NCP nominee from Shahada.
Similarly, even though Surupsing Naik is the Congress candidate from Navapur, his relative Nagesh Padvi is the BJP nominee from Akkalkuwa."My brother-in-law (Sanjay Devtale) has represented the Warora Assembly constituency for 20 years and also got the Lok Sabha ticket from Chandrapur this year.
"He has been a Cabinet minister and also the Guardian minister of Chandrapur district. Party workers wanted a change and my husband Vijay, a pathologist also was keen to contest this time. However, at the last moment, the party gave me the ticket," Asawari said, adding that she did not know whether to be happy or be sad about getting a ticket without asking.
Asawari, who belongs to a political family in Nagpur, has been a member of the district Mahila Congress and also the Zilla Parishad.
She said she wanted her husband to contest while she would run her house and her clinic. "After filing my nomination, I went to visit Sanjaybhau to seek his blessings. But on coming to know that he has switched party loyalties and would contest against me, I came back without meeting him," she said.
The débutante claimed at a public meeting yesterday that Sanjay had said he would have stayed back in the Congress, had his brother Vijay got the ticket instead of him. "Instead a woman was nominated and he was not ready to allow a woman to lead him. I was shocked," she said.
Former Congress minister Rohidas Patil's son Kunal is the party nominee from Dhule rural. Nephew Uttarksh is the independent candidate from Dhule city and brother-in-law Subhash Devre is the Shiv Sena nominee from Dhule city.
Former BJP MP MK Anna Patil's son Ramdas Patil is Sena candidate in Chalisgaon. Former NCP leader Prashant Hiray's son Advay is the BJP candidate taking on Pankaj Bhujbal, son of NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal from Nandgaon.
In Dindori, former MP Haribhau Mahale's son Dhananjay is contesting on Shiv Sena ticket while Dhananjay's son-in-law Dattu Padvi is in fray as CPM candidate.
Former BJP leader Daulatrao Aher's son Rahul is the party nominee from Chandwad.
In Deolali, Shiv Sena has fielded Yogesh, son of Sena leader Babanrao Gholap, who cannot contest due to his conviction by the court.
State Congress chief Manikrao Thakre's son Rahul is the party nominee from Yavatmal in place of sitting MLA Nandini Parvekar. While former CM Ashok Chavan's wife Ameeta will contest from Bhokar where Chavan had won in 2009.
Narayan Rane's son Nitesh is the congress nominee in Kankavli. In Nilanga, Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar of Shiv Sena is taking on his uncle Ashok Patil Nilangekar of Congress.
Congress fielded Ashok instead of his father Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar, the former state chief minister.
Among the prominent new faces who are kin of political leaders are NCP president Sunil Tatkare's nephew Avdhut, NCP leader Nawab Malik's brother Kaptan Malik from Kalina, former minister Dharmarao Atram's daughter Bhagyashree from Gadchiroli, Deputy chairman of Legislative council Vasant Davkhare's son Niranjan in Thane.