In poll debut, Tatkare scion takes on Sena’s Ghosalkar

NCP candidate banks on father’s legacy, on strong gender ratio of constituency; opponent alleges nepotism

Interacting with a group of voters at a Buddha Vihar in Dighi village in Raigad district, 28-year-old Aditi Tatkare announces that she will be only the second woman MLA from the district. The audience, most of whom are women, cheer in approval as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader thanks Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar for ensuring equal rights to women.

On the campaign trail: NCP’s Aditi Tatkare interacts with voters; (right) a voter welcomes Shiv Sena’s Vinod Ghosalkar.

On the campaign trail: NCP’s Aditi Tatkare interacts with voters; (right) a voter welcomes Shiv Sena’s Vinod Ghosalkar.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Ms. Tatkare, the NCP’s candidate for the Assembly elections from the picturesque coastal Shrivardhan, says, “This is the only constituency in Maharashtra where there are more women voters than men. My sisters, it is your responsibility to ensure that I get elected.”

Ms. Tatkare, the daughter of Raigad MP and senior NCP leader Sunil Tatkare, is making her electoral debut in a constituency nurtured by her father for two terms and later won in 2014 by her now estranged cousin, Avadhut.

The constituency, with 2,57,532 voters, has a gender ratio of 1,042; it has 1,31,430 women voters compared to 1,26,102 men voters.

She is pitted against Vinod Ghosalkar, a former MLA of the Shiv Sena, who has been shifted from Dahisar in Mumbai to Shrivardhan after the former seat went to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the seat-sharing deal between the allies.

In poll debut, Tatkare scion takes on Sena’s Ghosalkar

But Mr. Ghosalkar stresses that he is not an outsider. “I belong to Shrivardhan. I have come here to challenge the nepotism of the Tatkare family and bring development to the region, which [Mr. Tatkare] could not do for years despite enjoying power,” he says.

Ms. Tatkare, president of the Raigad zilla parishad, when asked about the Sena’s allegations, says she won’t take potshots at her opponent. “I am much younger than him. I am pitching my vision of development for the region instead of getting into a political slugfest. I want better roads, the tourism industry to grow, and job opportunities and environment-friendly businesses to come to Shrivardhan,” Ms. Tatkare says.

She does, however, refute the charge of nepotism. “I have been actively working with the party for the last 10 years, from the Rashtrawadi Yuvati Congress to the local unit. Only those who don’t know me accuse me of nepotism,” she says.

While the NCP candidate refrains from getting political, her father does not mince any words. “The man who was accused by women leaders of his own party of harassment is contesting against Aditi. His son, daughter-in-law are corporators in Mumbai and he is giving us a lecture on nepotism. Even Uddhav Thackeray did not want him in Mumbai, and that’s why they sent him to Shrivardhan to face defeat and retire from politics forever,” Mr. Tatkare says at a house meeting in Pangaloli village.

In the Lok Sabha polls, while the BJP-Sena alliance routed the Congress-NCP in Maharashtra, Mr. Tatkare managed to defeat the Sena’s Anant Geete, a Union minister in the NDA-I government.

In the Shrivardhan Assembly segment, he had a a lead of 38,000 votes, and claims that Ms. Tatkare will win by a margin of 50,000 votes this time.

Ms. Tatkare is part of the younger generation leaders the Opposition is trying to groom for future challenges, along with Rohit Pawar from the NCP, and Ruturaj Patil and Dheeraj Deshmukh of the Congress, among others.

The Shrivardhan candidate says, “I know the expectations are high. I will ensure that every single of them is fulfilled.”

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Printable version | May 24, 2020 11:45:02 AM |

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