Mumbai: The candidature of Parth Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s grand-nephew, from the Maval Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra marked the entry of the third generation of Pawar family into politics.
Now after Parth, yet another Pawar is easing into political limelight with hopes of contesting the Maharashtra Assembly election scheduled later this year.
This is 34-year-old Rohit Pawar, another grand-nephew of Sharad Pawar, who has on several occasions shown willingness to contest elections from any seat that his party deems fit.
If he does end up contesting, Rohit, who is currently a member of the Pune Zilla Parishad, will be the fifth member of the Pawar family to enter the electoral fray in the state or at the national level after Sharad Pawar, his nephew and former state deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule and Parth.
Besides being a Zilla Parishad member, Rohit also works as the chief executive officer of Baramati Agro, an agri-business firm started by his grandfather and Sharad Pawar’s elder brother Appasaheb Pawar.
Rohit had actively campaigned for NCP candidates
Rohit, son of Sharad Pawar’s nephew Rajendra Pawar and his wife Sunanda, has been firmly under the political glare in Maharashtra over the past two months.
Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra, he had actively campaigned for the NCP candidates from its turf in western Maharastra such as Amol Kolhe from Shirur, Sangram Jagtap from Ahmednagar as well as his cousin Parth.
Following the election, Rohit has been accompanying Sharad Pawar on his visit to drought-hit areas in Maharashtra and giving television bytes, slamming BJP ministers for tackling drought from their Mantralaya offices, but criticising Sharad Pawar’s tour as a political stunt.
On television, Rohit insisted that his accompanying the NCP chief on the tours should in no ways be seen as his “launching”. He said he is already an active public representative at the Zilla Parishad and the tour is not political.
“He is keen on contesting the Assembly election. Even party leaders feel that he can be a strong candidate on a seat where the NCP as a party and he as a candidate has acceptability,” a senior NCP leader, who did not wish to be named, said.
While there have been talks of a possibility of fielding Rohit from Karjat-Jamkhed Assembly constituency, from where BJP’s Ram Shinde is currently an MLA, there has been no decision on it as yet, he added.
Another local NCP leader said, “NCP workers will be willing to support Rohit Pawar’s candidature not just because of his family’s political legacy, but because he has grown in politics from the lowest rung of the ladder as a Zilla Parishad member. (Sharad) Pawar saheb also thinks that people in politics, whichever family they may belong to, should rise from the bottom.”
He added Parth is no different. “He wasn’t electorally active, but everyone who has worked in Baramati, has seen him attend rallies, observe meetings from the sidelines,” the leader said.
Rohit’s political journey
Rohit’s first taste of politics was in 2017 when he won the Pune Zilla Parishad seat by a margin of more than 12,000 votes. He is said to have been keen on having a bigger share of the political pie during the Lok Sabha election itself.
Ahead of the election, he was touring the Pune district extensively, holding meetings with groups of people. His family organises the Bhimtadi Jatra, a popular event among rural non-government organisations and self-help groups. Since his election to the Zilla Parishad, Rohit has also propped up his image in the district through the event, putting up posters leading to the venue and having interactions with visitors.
While Sharad Pawar had initially dismissed nominating either Ajit Pawar’s son Parth or Rohit as candidates, he later named Parth as the candidate from Maval constituency, while deciding to drop out of the race, saying there were too many members of his family contesting the elections.
Rohit had publicly appealed to his grandfather to reconsider his decision through a Facebook post, raising questions about a possible feud in the Pawar family over Parth’s candidature.
But, soon after, Rohit as well as Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya shared a family photo with Rohit, Parth as well as Sule on Instagram to quell rumours of any family feud. The family had come together to celebrate Sule and Parth’s candidature and give them their best wishes, they had said on the Instagram post.
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