Baramati : Baramati is famous as the bastion of Sharad Pawar, founder of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). First impression of the principle town, over which the assembly constituency derives its name, is that of a role model of development. That is why Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar’s nephew and ex. deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, boasts that he does not need to campaign in the constituency.

Prosperity that sugar mills, dairy, agro based and other industries have brought to the area can be easily sensed just as one moves over smooth, wide, pothole free roads approaching the town. The roads in the town too are wide and properly kept. The government offices in the town have impressive buildings. One can even find a host of cultural and educational institutes, a sign of social infrastructure. Much of these have been developed over past 20-25 years, say Dr. Bhaskar Jedhe, who runs one of the prime paediatric health care centres of the town.

The constituency has been electing members of Pawar family for over 25 years, which was dominated by socialist and leftist parties earlier. If Ajit Anant Pawar wins from Baramati constituency again, he would be making it fifth in a row from his home turf.

Although Pawar’s family and aides dismiss all doubts and claim that, his victory by an overwhelming majority was a foregone conclusion.

“We don’t have to promise voters anything. We never ask for votes. We just have to meet them. I greet them with folded hands and that’s about it. This is because we have provided all kinds of public amenities in Baramati. There is no public project that the Pawar family has not implemented,” say Prashant Kate, a progressive farmer and member of the NCP team that is entrusted with campaign in the constituency.

In 2009, Pawar polled 68.26 per cent votes, i.e. 1,28,544 against the 25,747 polled by independent candidate Rajankumar Taware. In 2004, Pawar secured 69.07 per cent that is 96,302 votes to the 30,145 polled by Shiv Sena’s Popatrao Tupe. This time, Pawar is facing some semblance of opposition from BJP’s Balasaheb Gavade of BJP, Sena’s Rajendra Kale and Akash More of the Congress.

Availability of water and electricity are among the major issues that the candidates like Gavade and Kale are raising. They refer to the ill famous incidence at Masalvadi, a small village, on the intervening night of April 16 and 17, where villagers dared to remind Pawar about his forgotten promise of regularising supply of water. But, Pawar’s aides brush it off as a minor incidences.

They say that as the region is prospering, people have moved to their fields and with number of houses there growing, they are being called as villages. Now, to identify them as proper villages in the revenue records and provide all amenities would take time. They also say that the once Pawar gets elected he would put the issue at the top of his priority list.

Abhijit Mulye

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