Maharashtra’s political families
Much like Haryana, Maharashtra too is riddled with powerful political families.
At the top are the Thackerays of the Shiv Sena. The party’s founder Bal Thackeray ushered in an era of ultra-Right, staunch pro-Marathi politics in the state. His son Uddhav Thackeray now heads the Shiv Sena while his nephew Raj Thackeray split from the party in 2006 to float his own outfit — the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Despite the initial hype, MNS has failed to make much of a dent in the state’s politics.
Uddhav’s son, Aaditya, meanwhile, is the president of Yuva Sena, Shiv Sena’s youth wing.
The Pawars are yet another powerful political family in the state. Sharad Pawar, veteran politician, multiple-term CM of Maharashtra and former union minister with key portfolios, founded the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in 1999 after he split from the Congress.
Pawar is currently a Rajya Sabha MP while his daughter Supriya Sule is the Lok Sabha MP from Baramati. His nephew Ajit Pawar, an MLA, has served as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra.
The BJP’s Gopinath Munde, a five-time MLA who was inducted as a union cabinet minister for the first time a week before he died in 2014, was known as the party’s ‘OBC face’. His brother-in-law was Pramod Mahajan, another senior BJP leader and once a CM probable who was killed at the peak of his career.
At present, two of Munde’s three daughters are in politics — Pritam who is an MP and Pankaja who is a state cabinet minister. Gopinath Munde’s bother, Panditrao Munde, is a politician as well but fell out with the BJP and joined the NCP. Panditrao’s son, Dhananjay Munde, is also with the NCP and is the leader of opposition in the Maharashtra legislative council.
Meanwhile, Mahajan’s daughter, Poonam, is an MP.
The Congress’ Chavan family is another powerful clan in the state. Shankarrao Chavan was a two-time Maharashtra CM and a union minister who handled several key portfolios such as finance, defence, external affairs and home. His son Ashok Chavan is the Maharashtra Congress president and a former Maharashtra CM. Ashok’s wife Ameeta is an MLA from Bhokar and is touted to be a Lok Sabha candidate this year. His now estranged brother-in-law — Bhaskar Khatgaonkar — was also an MP from Nanded but quit the Congress to join the BJP in 2014.
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