In many seats of Maharashtra, election contest all in the family

Sandeep A Ashar
(From Left to Right) Indraneel Naik, Nilay Naik, Jaydutt Kshirsagar and Sandeep Kshirsagar.

They might belong to the same family, but in this Assembly election, they are divided on political lines with some even going up against each other to win their home constituency. Whether it is a battle of political legacy between two siblings or fierce uncle-nephew contests, the election for several seats in Maharashtra is set to be a family affair. Take a look. Royal rumble Aheri, Vidarbha Aheri, an Assembly constituency, which borders Chhattisgarh and is affected by Maoist insurgency, will see a rematch between members of the erstwhile royal family. Minister Amberish Rao Atram, popularly referred to as Maharaj in the constituency, is pitted against his uncle, Dharamraobaba Atram or Baba as he is commonly known. In 2014, Amberish, who has studied business law at Birmingham, had defeated his uncle and was later nominated as a minister of state in the Fadnavis government. This time, his uncle, who is with the NCP, has challenged him. Incidentally, the Congress, too, has fielded its own candidate, Deepak Atram. Also read | Maharashtra polls: Meet AAP s candidate TISS alumnus, prohibition activist 15-year feud Nilanga, Marathwada In Latur s Nilanga, BJP s high-profile minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar will also try to ward off a challenge from his uncle, Ashok, the Congress nominee whom he had defeated by over 27,000 votes in the 2014 election. Ashok is the son of former CM Shivaji Patil Nilangekar, who also happens to be Sambhaji s grandfather. The family feud began around 2004 after the demise of Sambhaji s father, Dilip, and has been on since. In 2004, Sambhaji had first defeated his grandfather, who staged a comeback win in the subsequent poll. The rebel in the family Pusad, Vidarbha Also read | Maharashtra: NCP out of poll race in Chinchwad & Bhosari Two fourth-generation members of the Naik family will fight each other for Yavatmal s Pusad seat, which has been represented by two CMs in the past, and has forever remained with either the Congress or the NCP. The state s longest serving CM, Vasantrao Naik, and his nephew, Sudhakarrao Naik, also an ex-CM, have represented the seat in the past. This time, Vasantrao s grandson, Indraneel, son of sitting MLA and ex-minister Manoharrao Naik, will take on BJP s Nilay Naik, also Vasantrao s grandson. While Manohar Naik had groomed Nilay, a succession battle saw him join the BJP in 2016. Brothers at war Maan, western Maharashtra The Congress s turncoat Jaykumar Gore, who joined the BJP last month, is seeking a third consecutive term. But it is his own brother, Shekhar, who has rebelled against him. Shekhar, who is now with the Shiv Sena, has entered the race. Since 2009, when Jaykumar first won the seat as an Independent, the two brothers have been competing with each other for supremacy in the region. The presence of retired IAS officer, Prabhakar Deshmukh, who has entered the fray as an Independent backed by the NCP, has added more fizz to the contest. Also read | Maharashtra polls: Opposition to take up Aarey, corner Aaditya Thackeray in Worli Uncle versus nephew Beed, Marathwada Shiv Sena minister Jaydutt Kshirsagar, formerly with the NCP, will square up against his nephew, Sandeep, the NCP s challenger. Sandeep, too, was groomed by his uncle, but the fallout between the two came about four years ago when the NCP s state leadership under Ajit Pawar, who does not share a good rapport with Kshirsagar, began promoting Sandeep as the party s alternate face in the region. Kshirsagar has blamed Pawar for sidelining him and engineering a split with his nephew. In the build-up to the polls, the war of words between the relatives has heightened the poll pitch. Also read | Maharashtra: Now, error in RO order on CM Fadnavis poll affidavit Legacy war Parli, Marathwada One of the fiercest battles to play out in the forthcoming election will be in Parli, where cousins, Pankaja Munde, a senior BJP minister, and Dhananjay Munde, Leader of Opposition in the legislative council, are in the fray. The battle between the duo isn t merely for the Assembly seat, but the claim over the political legacy of BJP s senior leader (late) Gopinath Munde. Till 2009, Dhananjay was overseeing Munde s constituency works. But when senior Munde nominated his daughter as his replacement for the Assembly election when he was elected to the Parliament, differences cropped up between the two. It culminated with Dhananjay joining the NCP and challenging his uncle s might in 2012. In the 2014 poll, which took place in the backdrop of Munde s tragic demise, Pankaja trounced her cousin by 22,000 votes. But Dhananjay has since notched up crucial wins in local body polls. Uncle v nephew v in-law Gevrai, Marathwada Three generations of the Pandit family have controlled the politics in Beed s Gevrai for decades. Former minister Shivajirao Pandit represented the region for nearly four decades; followed by his cousin, Badamrao, who was elected thrice to the legislative assembly, while Badramrao s nephew, Amarsinh, also seen as Badamrao s staunchest opponent in the region, is an NCP MLC (member of legislative council). But in 2014, BJP s Laxman Pawar, son of ex-minister Madhukar Pawar, upset the equation defeating Badamrao, who later moved to the Shiv Sena. Incidentally, Pawar s daughter is also married into the Pandit family. This time, the BJP has renominated Pawar, while Amarsinh s brother, Vijaysinh, is the NCP nominee, while Badamrao has entered the fray as a rebel candidate.