Maharashtra

Battle for Baramati becomes brutal for Pawar clan

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Ajit A. Pawar faces an onslaught from an unexpected quarter -- his elder brother, guide and mentor, industrialist Shriniwas A. Pawar -- sending ripples in political circles.

Pune (Maharashtra): Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Ajit A. Pawar faces an onslaught from an unexpected quarter — his elder brother, guide and mentor, industrialist Shriniwas A. Pawar — sending ripples in political circles.

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Shriniwas A. Pawar, who had supported Ajit A. Pawar during his 2019 rebellion, has now turned his back on the younger sibling, leaving the latter virtually a loner in Pune politics as the battle for Baramati turns brutal.

Catching many unawares, Shriniwas A. Pawar suddenly stepped out to oppose not only Ajit Pawar, but also his wife Sunetra, who is the likely NCP candidate for Baramati, locking horns with her ‘nanand’ Supriya Sule, the daughter the Nationalist Congress Party (SP) patriarch Sharad Pawar.

Without mincing words, Shriniwas A. Pawar described Ajit Pawar as “ungrateful, incompetent and thankless without regards for the family elders”.

“It was hurting when he (Ajit) said that our uncle (Sharad Pawar, 83) has no political future now, he should just retire, sit at home, chant bhajan-kirtan and adopt a mentoring role. Just because someone has aged, you are being disrespectful to him in the hope of getting benefits for next ten years by allying with someone,” said Shriniwas A. Pawar sharply.

“You may be surprised why I am talking against ‘Dada’ (brother) when I have always backed him in the past. I clearly told him that he is an MLA and he should voluntarily give the (Baramati LS) seat to our uncle Pawar Saheb, who has done a lot for us… Clearly there is no one more incompetent than Ajit,” said Shriniwas A. Pawar.

He further reminded Ajit Pawar that it was Sharad Pawar who had made him a Deputy CM four times, plus given him many ministerial assignments and other political positions, and he was fortunate to have such a ‘great uncle’.

Shriniwas A. Pawar’s wife, Sharmila also took the stand and criticized her brother-in-law Ajit A. Pawar, questioning “were you ever defeated in any elections due to Sharad Pawar’s support,” while interacting with villagers on their campaign trail for Supriya Sule.

This is the same Shriniwas A. Pawar who had once sheltered the wayward Ajit A. Pawar when he deserted the (undivided) NCP to abruptly take oath with Bharatiya Janata Party’s Devendra Fadnavis as CM and himself as Deputy CM in a dawn ceremony in November 2019, but the two-man regime crashed in barely 80 hours.

When swords were out for Ajit A. Pawar at that time, he was found ensconced in the home of Shriniwas A. Pawar, and emerged out after the huge fracas subsided, though he was shunted to the political doghouse for weeks before being rehabilitated by Sharad Pawar as a Deputy CM.

This is the second jolt for Ajit A. Pawar in barely a fortnight after his nephew — Yugendra Shriniwas Pawar — also stood opposite him and has supported the NCP(SP)’s nominee Supriya Sule.

Sharmila Shriniwas Pawar chided her brother-in-law (Ajit A. Pawar) saying: “This is a delicate and agonizing time for the entire Pawar clan, something like this is unprecedented, nobody wants to oppose you, but we have many elders in the family and shall overcome this moment. Our identity is owed to Sharad Pawar and even his opponents take his name with respect. We have to make him victorious.”

Shriniwas A. Pawar said that he did not wish to share many other things about Ajit A. Pawar, but desired that he should live with respect and dignity.

Reacting, NCP (SP) National General Secretary said that it was the “pain and indebtedness of Shriniwas A. Pawar that has come to fore as Ajit A. Pawar committed a ‘paap’ (sin) against Sharad Pawar”.

Responding to the sibling onslaught, NCP Thane chief and two-time MP Anand P. Paranjpe said that entire Baramati supports Ajit A. Pawar, and “everything will be clear after the elections”.

Source
IANS
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