New Pawar ‘dada’ rises in Pune: Nephew challenges uncle’s political domain

Pune, Feb 21 (IANS): The state’s academic and cultural capital Pune is left both amused and bemused as the ongoing political war in the powerful Pawar clan took a curious new twist.

The city rubbed its eyes to witness a new poster coming up at a prominent location, proclaiming Rohit R. Pawar as ‘Dada’ (elder brother), with a fresh, but taunting tagline: “Same Promise, New Dada”.

The dapper yet down-to-earth Rohit R. Pawar, 38, is the Nationalist Congress Party (SP) MLA from Karjat-Jamkhed, and the reference is to his uncle, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit A. Pawar, 64.

The slogan in Marathi is even more catchy: “Vaada Toch (Same Promise), Pan, Dada Nava (but, New Dada)”, and the huge billboard was erected on the Pune-Nashik Highway by an NCP (SP) local leader Mayur Bhalerao,

For special effects, the poster shows the pictures of NCP (SP) President Sharad Pawar, NCP Working President Supriya Sule, state President Jayant Patil, and others, as it became a topic of furious debate in local political circles.

For one, this is the first time that anybody has attempted to ‘usurp’ the label of Dada from Ajit-dada Pawar, and that too by his own nephew Rohit R. Pawar, from the rival party.

The significance was all the more as in July 2023, Sharad Pawar-led 25-year-old NCP was suddenly split vertically, and that too, by his own nephew Ajit-dada Pawar, who quickly joined the ruling MahaYuti alliance as Deputy Chief Minister.

There has been no official reaction from the Ajit Pawar camp on the poster showing Rohit-dada ready to live up to his assurances to the electorate.

Incidentally, the political connotations are also not lost on the electorate -- Ajit Pawar is the nephew and Rohit R. Pawar is the grand-nephew of Sharad Pawar.

Similarly, Supriya Sule is the cousin sister of Ajit Pawar and cousin-aunt of Rohit R. Pawar.

Ajit Pawar is contemplating fielding his wife, Sunetra against Supriya Sule for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls from Baramati seat -- a rare ‘bhabhi 'versus 'nanand’ contest in the offing!

Despite cut-throat differences, blood runs thicker than politics in the Pawar clan and is evident during family get-togethers or in festivals when they all unite for a powwow -- strictly minus political discussions.

In November 2019, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Devendra Fadnavis and NCP’s Ajit Pawar had suddenly joined hands as the CM and Deputy CM, respectively, the latter faced severe flak from the family and the political fraternity.

Though the two-men regime, sworn-in at early morning, survived barely 80 hours, Ajit Pawar spent nearly a month in the political doghouse, almost becoming a recluse.

However, weeks later, he was warmly welcomed by cousin Supriya Sule with a hug to her ‘Ajit-dada’, grudgingly forgiven by Uncle Sharad Pawar, and rewarded again as Deputy CM under then Maha Vikas Aghadi’s ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray.

All was apparently hunky-dory till July 2023, when Ajit Pawar led a faction to join the MahaYuti government of CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Fadnavis as a second Deputy CM.

The wannabe Rohit-dada R. Pawar has not been so fortuitous, doing the rounds of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) offices and facing certain allegations, compared with his uncle Ajit Pawar.


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Title: New Pawar ‘dada’ rises in Pune: Nephew challenges uncle’s political domain

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