Maharashtra 2019

Maharashtra Elections 2019 | GenNext debuts: one goal, two paths

Rohit Pawar and Aaditya Thackeray

Rohit Pawar and Aaditya Thackeray  

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Aaditya Thackeray fielded from ‘easy’ seat; Rohit Pawar gets a tough one

The Thackerays and the Pawars, Maharashtra’s most significant political families, will introduce their scions in the election battlefield this year.

Aaditya (29), son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, and Rohit (34), grandnephew of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar, will make their debut in the State Assembly elections. While Aaditya will contest from Mumbai’s Worli Assembly segment, Rohit will contest from Karjat-Jamkhed in Ahmednagar district.

Although the two inheritors are young, the similarity ends there. The Thackerays have chosen one of the safest Assembly seats to launch their heir, while Rohit will take his opponents head-on from one of the most difficult seats, held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the past five Assembly elections.

“Rohit was being groomed by Sharad Pawar for more than two years. He was involved in agro business and the co-operative movement. He was made to travel across the State for field visits and was then asked to choose his constituency,” said senior journalist Santosh Pradhan. The decision to launch Aaditya gained momentum especially after the Lok Sabha election results came in, even though there were murmurs about it, said Mr. Pradhan.

The saffron party was hesitant to make the announcement of Aaditya’s electoral debut prior to the Lok Sabha polls. In an interview with The Hindu two years ago, Mr. Thackeray, for the first time, had hinted that he could be the first person from the family to enter electoral politics. The official confirmation came barely four days before he filed his nomination on Thursday. In the meantime, Mr. Thackeray remained in the news through his activities on the football field, his pro-environment stand and through his carefully crafted image of a Sena leader who veers from the party’s conservative stand on Valentines Day, night life in Mumbai and Bollywood.

Even before the outcome of the election, Mr. Thackeray is being projected as the Sena’s face for the chief ministerial post. While filing his nomination on Thursday, Mr. Thackeray said, “We will soon see a Shiv Sena chief minister.” His colleagues in the party already see him as a pan-Maharashtra leader. “His Jan Ashirwad Yatra is an example of how he went to every corner of the State,” said Mr. Pradhan.

“Aaditya is the suave, young, urban face of the party, and is yet to display his understanding on important State issues. Entry into electoral politics brings with it accountability to the electorate. You serve them, rather than just command them. It is good that the Thackerays are entering this. He could have chosen to be like his father, but he has taken a difficult route,” said Jaideep Hardikar, a senior journalist and researcher based in Nagpur.

Mr. Pawar, on the other hand, worked on establishing a connect with rural and semi-urban populace in the State, with a special focus on agriculture. Mr. Pawar has categorically focused on his Assembly constituency. “Some might think it was just a crowd. Let me tell you, the whole of Karjat-Jamkhed came together yesterday with only one thing on their mind: development,” said Mr. Pawar, after filing his nomination.

“Rohit Pawar is a businessman with an urban face who understands the rural economy. His decision to contest a difficult seat at a time when party is going through difficult times will make him the fight-back face of the party,” said Mr. Hardikar.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 8:23:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/maharashtra-assembly/gennext-debuts-one-goal-two-paths/article29599879.ece

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