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Maharashtra: Sunetra Pawar goes to Parliament

Updated on: 14 June,2024 07:18 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

After losing Lok Sabha polls in Baramati, NCP (AP) chief’s wife is the party’s choice for Rajya Sabha

Maharashtra: Sunetra Pawar goes to Parliament

NCP (AP) leader Sunetra Pawar campaigning in the Khadakwasla Assembly segment of the Baramati Lok Sabha seat on April 25. Pic/Anurag Ahire

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Maharashtra: Sunetra Pawar goes to Parliament

Defeated recently in the Lok Sabha polls as the NCP (AP) candidate, Sunetra Pawar, the wife of DCM Ajit Pawar, didn’t have an opponent in the Rajya Sabha by-elections for which she filed her nomination on Thursday. She will formally be declared the winner once the election procedure ends.

Sunetra made her political debut in the most hostile political situation in the Lok Sabha elections, contesting against her sister-in-law and sitting MP Supriya Sule for the Baramati seat. It marked the grand family's formal separation after Ajit had split from the Sharad Pawar-founded NCP last year and later took ownership of the party’s name and symbol. However, Ajit’s outfit couldn’t win in Baramati. It lost three seats including Baramati, and won only Raigad.

Sunetra lost the Baramati Lok Sabha seat to her sister-in-law Supriya Sule. Pic/PTI
Sunetra lost the Baramati Lok Sabha seat to her sister-in-law Supriya Sule. Pic/PTI

People in the NCP (AP) said giving more power to Sunetra through an official position would be useful for outreach in the constituency that is part of Pune district. The party cadre is down because of her loss and the party’s overall poor performance ahead of the Assembly elections. The Dy CM’s wife will be the third MP in Baramati. Sharad Pawar also sits in the Rajya Sabha. His daughter Supriya Sule is a Lok Sabha member. Other than Ajit, another member of the Pawar family, Rohit is an MLA from a neighbouring Karjat-Jamkhed.

This seat that went to Sunetra was vacated mid-term by her party’s senior leader Praful Patel. Quitting was a strategic decision because it kept the party’s claim to the seat intact in the three-party alliance. Patel took up a seat that came up next for fresh elections early this year. NCP (AP) is expected to get another seat that will be relinquished by BJP’s RS member Udayanraje Bhosale, who has won the Satara Lok Sabha seat. BJP minister Piyush Goyal’s RS seat will also be up for a by-poll. These seats are sure to be won by the NDA because of their collective strength in the electoral college of the Maharashtra Assembly. 

Nephew to challenge Ajit?

The parties led respectively by the nephew and uncle are expected to lock horns again in the Vidhan Sabha elections. Sharad Pawar’s party is buoyed by the Lok Sabha show in which it won 8 out of 10 contests.

In Baramati, there is a growing demand in the Sharad Pawar camp that Ajit Pawar should be opposed tooth and nail in the Baramati Assembly constituency where he hasn’t lost since his first elections. The supporters have suggested another generation next leader and Ajit’s nephew Yugendra Pawar as a formidable candidate.

It seems that Sharad Pawar too has begun grooming grandnephew Yugendra, who has campaigned against the uncle and is currently holding janata darbars in the constituency. A day before, Pawar senior attended one such darbar being presided over by Yugendra and responded cheerfully to the people’s demand that he be made Ajit’s opponent.

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