With Ajit Pawar joining ranks with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena in the state, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) workers anticipate a battle of Pawar versus Pawar on cards at the family’s home ground Baramati for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
The Baramati Lok Sabha segment has traditionally been a bastion of Sharad Pawar and his daughter Supriya Sule even as the BJP has unsuccessfully attempted multiple times to make inroads.
For 2024, the BJP recently targeted the Baramati Lok Sabha seat among others in Maharashtra with Union finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman spending three days here in an effort to strengthen the party’s base.
After parting with his uncle Sharad Pawar, the deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar is ensuring that his son and wife are present for various political events in Baramati. Ajit’s two sons – Parth and Jay – along with wife Sunetra have increased their visits to the hometown. This has promoted buzz among local NCP workers that the Ajit Pawar-NCP faction may choose to field one of his family members against the sitting MP Supriya Sule in Lok Sabha polls.
After Ajit attended a roadshow in Baramati to show his strength post the NCP split, rumours sparked that either his son Parth or wife Sunetra Pawar would contest from Baramati.
On Sunday, Sule was in Baramati when she interacted with party workers and reporters. As media representatives asked about political buzz that a member of Ajit Pawar family – either Parth or Sunetra Pawar – is likely to contest against her, Sule replied saying, “I have contested Lok Sabha polls from Baramati thrice. Each time, there was someone in opposition and in democracy it is obvious that opposition party will contest polls. We should concentrate on our efforts.”
While Baramati has till recently been with the BJP under the seat sharing agreement with Shiv Sena, the party may give the seat to Ajit Pawar faction of NCP in the upcoming polls scheduled in April-May next year.
One of the senior NCP leader and former minister from Ajit camp requesting anonymity said, “I know the Pawar family very well and even as there has been a split in the party, family will maintain cordial relations. Our main worry however is that since Ajit Pawar has joined the BJP alliance, and if the BJP asks Ajit to give ticket to someone from his family, it would be difficult for him to refuse.”
Another NCP leader who is close to the Pawar family said, “Ajit Pawar is serious about his son Parth’s political career and will ensure that the latter gets elected from some LS seat.”
A BJP state-level leader said, “It is true that the BJP do not have a strong candidate in Baramati. We would prefer to give the seat to Ajit Pawar in alliance. He will take the decision about the candidate, but the BJP will ensure that whoever contests polls, we will fight for victory.”