Pawar vs Pawar: NCP fields Sunetra Pawar against sister-in-law Supriya Sule in Baramati

Speculation about a possible electoral face-off between the two has been gathering steam for a while now

Supriya Sule (left) and Sunetra Pawar
Supriya Sule (left) and Sunetra Pawar


The Nationalist Congress Party on Saturday officially declared the candidature of Sunetra Pawar, wife of Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, from Baramati Lok Sabha seat, pitting her against sister-in-law and Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule from the home turf of the Pawars.

Speculation about a possible electoral face-off between the two has been gathering steam for a while now, so the announcement has not come entirely out of the blue.

In her first reaction, Sunetra Pawar said this was a lucky day for her. The announcement of her candidature was made by Maharashtra NCP unit president Sunil Tatkare, hours after the NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) declared its first list of five candidates for the Lok Sabha elections from Maharashtra.

The NCP (SP) retained Supriya Sule from Baramati and fielded Nilesh Lanke, who switched sides from the Ajit Pawar camp, from the Ahmednagar constituency.

Tatkare said the battle in Baramati is of ideology and principles, and not a family one. "This is a lucky day for me. I thank Narendra Modi ji, Amit Shah, and all leaders of the Mahayuti (Shiv Sena, BJP, and NCP) for considering me capable of fighting the election," Sunetra Pawar told a Marathi news channel.

"Voters have taken the fight into their hands," she said when asked about facing off with Supriya Sule.

Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena leader Vijay Shivtare, a fierce critic of Ajit Pawar, decided against contesting from Baramati in the upcoming elections, dropping his belligerent stand.

With Sunetra Pawar, a novice in electoral politics, in the field, Baramati is set to witness a first-of-its-kind Pawar versus Pawar battle, post the split in the party founded by Pawar senior in 1999, though the real fight lies between Ajit Pawar, who joined the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government last July, and his uncle Sharad Pawar, the wily and battle-hardened politician.

The Baramati Lok Sabha constituency includes six assembly segments — Baramati town, Indapur, Daund, Purandar, Bhor and Khadakwasla. Sharad Pawar has won this seat multiple times in the past, and has a committed voter base and enjoys immense goodwill locally. In the 2019 elections, Supriya Sule scored a hat-trick of winning the Baramati constituency as NCP nominee.

Even before Sunetra Pawar's name was formally announced, she had begun campaigning and meeting various social groups.

To guard his home turf, Sharad Pawar recently visited the family of Congress legislator Sangram Thopte and met his father Anantrao Thopte, an old rival.

NCP (SP), part of the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), also comprising Shiv Sena (UBT) and Congress, will contest 10 seats in Maharashtra, which sends 48 members to the Lok Sabha.

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