Ajit cool despite ED row; Prithvi in triangular fight
As Baramati showcases the political might of the Pawars, NCP leader Ajit Pawar is confident despite his name in the alleged money laundering case. The past developments by Pawars will overweigh ED's baseless charges, says Sunetra Pawar.
Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar’s nephew has left campaigning to supporters despite an unprecedented BJP mobilisation. He will return only after a statewide campaign to address the very last campaign rally in his constituency. The Pawars have high stake in the backdrop of BJP's Delhi-powered bid to breach the hitherto unassailable fortress.
The high-profile defections to BJP has added to the build-up. Baramati showcases the political might of the Pawars. Automobile units, distilleries, textile and sugar mills, dairies and educational institutions have transformed a once agrarian land, thanks to the ‘Sharad Pawar model of development’. “The Pawar family politics is rooted in the faith and support of people.
They will reject ED’s baseless charges and BJP’s vendetta politics since they have seen Pawarsaheb’s and Ajit dada’s work for decades,” Sunetra Pawar, who manages her spouse’s campaign, told ET. However, BJP candidate Gopichand Padalkar, a leader of the Dhanker community from Sangli, countered the claim: “Baramati’s projection as Maharashtra’s Singapore is a farce. Development in Baramati is limited to the ring-road, despite the Pawars ruling Baramati for decades. Many villagers and farmlands beyond do not even have proper water supply.
Wresting Baramati is BJP’s mission. I will go to the assembly and Ajit Pawar to jail.” Local people acknowledge there has been a BJP build-up but feel Ajit Pawar would romp home again. In neighbouring Satara district, Chavan is fighting two excolleagues. Vilasrao Patil Kaka had unsuccessfully challenged Chavan in Karad last time and has fielded his son Udaysinh Patil as an independent this time.
Chavan’s main rival, however, is ex-Congressman Atul Suresh Bhosale, the BJP candidate. In the clash of three Marathas, Chavan does not have the CM aura this time but better backing of NCP which is fighting the Satara LS by-poll. The defection of 14 Congress corporators to BJP from Karad municipality has added suspense to the fight.
“I have my development track record before voters, while BJP uses money power. Amit Shah campaigned here and the PM in Satara but they talked on Article 370, a non-issue here. People are angry over economic issues,” Chavan told ET. However, Bhosale said, “the BJP will win Karad due to the ground work. Our growing influence can be gauged from local body election wins.” Locals say Chavan can win only if he scores heavily in urban Karad and Mulkapur municipal areas and if his rivals' rural votesare split.