MUMBAI: The first list of candidates announced by the NCP has re-ignited the war in two families. Sharad Pawar, in his wisdom, has decided to field Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde against his cousin sister and Minister Pankaja Munde and Sandip Kshirsagar against his uncle and Minister Jaydutt Kshirsagar.
Pawar announced the list for five Assembly constituencies in Beed district on Wednesday. BJP’s rural face, the late Gopinath Munde, was one of the biggest leaders in Beed. When he was alive, his nephew, Dhananjay, switched over to the NCP.
After Gopinath’s demise, there was a tussle between daughter Pankaja and Dhananjay for the political legacy of Gopinath Munde.
In 2014, Dhananjay had contested against Pankaja. Since the election was held few months after the death of Gopinath Munde, Pankaja won, riding on a sympathy wave.
But, this time, much water has flown under the bridge and Pankaja is facing a tough challenge from her aggressive cousin Dhananjay.
Sensing that she may lose, Pankaja is also mulling changing her constituency and relocating to Karjat-Jamkhed in Ahmednagar district. A part of the problem is that BJP leader Ram Shinde, who is also a minister, represents this seat.
Pankaja may not be allowed to switch by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as he is getting a god-sent opportunity to corner his political opponent and aspirant of the CM’s post.
Fight in Kshirsagar family, too: Sharad Pawar has also nominated Sunil Kshirsagar, a young NCP leader, for Beed Assembly constituency. His uncle Jaydutt Kshirsagar, who was also an MLA from this constituency, had left the NCP and joined the Shiv Sena. He was made a minister in June this year. The Kshirsagar family was known for its loyalty towards Pawar.