'Karjat-Jamkhed has not come to me on a platter'
Rohit Pawar dismisses claims of having fractured Pawar family
Jamkhed: People say he is Sharad Pawar in the making. NCP founder's grand-nephew, Rohit Pawar, is playing an 'away' Assembly match against senior minister Ram Shinde in a constituency that the BJP hasn't lost in 25 years. The fourth-generation politician of the Pawar family does not promise to turn the constituency into another Baramati, but tells people he has a plan to make their future better. When mid-day probed Rohit, 34, on accusations that his political ambitions have caused a power struggle in the family, he said people were deliberately painting him as a villain.
Excerpts from an interview.
You chose to fight it out in BJP's stronghold. Why?
Here I have scope to work on healthcare, education, mitigation of the perennial drought situation, agriculture, job creation and most importantly, basic infrastructure that the BJP hasn't given to Karjat-Jamkhed in its uninterrupted reign of 25 years. It is unbelievable but true — Jamkhed town gets water once in 70-90 days. I want to be an elected representative in the Assembly — a people's man who can solve issues. The advantage of going to a 'greenfield' Karjat-Jamkhed is that nobody would dare say that it has been given to me on a platter.
Opponents say the outsider must be sent home.
Am I from Pakistan? I have connected with 91% of the locals and 65% of them can identify me as Rohit Pawar.
People see Sharad Pawar in you...
Saheb has greatly influenced my evolution as a leader. Dada (uncle Ajit Pawar) and Tai (aunt Supriya Sule) also influence me. The core principle that my mentors have imbibed in me is that I must work sincerely and not betray the people.
You are a businessman-turned-politician. That is rare in political families.
I took up the challenge of bringing my father's business on track right after graduation. I thought if I have done well in business, then my social work, if backed by politics, could be more meaningful. I contested, and won, the Pune Zilla Parishad elections in 2017 from Baramati.
Where do you think the NCP is headed?
NCP won't die. There will be mentors in the party and new faces will make it stronger. We need to learn new trends.
So, youth without resources should contest polls?
Why not? Politics is about resources and perception.
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