Battle for Baramati a BJP ploy to ‘finish off’ Sharad Pawar: Supriya Sule

Aupriya Sule, Sunetra Pawar
Aupriya Sule, Sunetra Pawar

Pune | Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule claimed on Sunday the fight between her and her sister-in-law Sunetra Pawar in Baramati constituency is a design of the BJP to politically finish off NCP founder Sharad Pawar.

Sule said the intra-family duel in the Lok Sabha polls will not waver her respect for Sunetra Pawar as she is her “elder brother’s wife and like a mother”.

Baramati is set for a high-profile battle after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Saturday fielded Sunetra Pawar, wife of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, against Sule, the daughter of opposition stalwart Sharad Pawar.

Baramati will go to polls on May 7.

The Pawar-versus-Pawar tussle is the fallout of a split in the original NCP last year when Ajit Pawar sided with the ruling BJP and Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena along with his loyalist MLAs.

Speaking to PTI, Sule said Sunetra Pawar is the wife of her “elder brother and the elder sister-in-law is considered as mother”.

“So this ploy (to pit Sunetra against Sule) is against the Pawar family and Maharashtra. The BJP wants to finish off Pawar Saheb. I am not saying this. A senior BJP leader made such a remark after visiting Baramati,” Sule said.

The BJP does not have capable candidates so it has resorted to this "dirty politics", she claimed.

The move to nominate Sunetra Pawar (60) shows it is not for development. “It is a fight only to finish off Pawar saheb,” claimed Sule (54).

Speaking about the rift with cousin Ajit Pawar, the Baramati MP said, "It is a conspiracy to create rifts among Marathi speaking people. It is a blow from the Delhi throne to Maharashtra's identity. They have pitted one Marathi against another. Our fight was ideological but the BJP made it personal."

She expressed sadness over BJP's involvement in "dirty politics" in Maharashtra and in their family matters.

“Let bygones be bygones, but for me, my sister-in-law, whom we call 'vahini' in Marathi, will remain in the position of mother, and my respect for her will remain as before,” she said.

Hitting back, BJP's state women's wing chief Chitra Wagh said the commotion in the Sule camp about Sunetra Pawar is nothing but fear of defeat.

"There is no need for the BJP to break someone's house. The people in the family are wise and take thoughtful decisions," she said in an apparent reference to the rebellion by Ajit Pawar.

The Baramati constituency in Pune district comprising Baramati, Indapur, Daund, Purandar, Bhor, and Khadakwasla assembly segments has been a bastion of Sharad Pawar since the 1960s.

Ajit Pawar has been an MLA from Baramati since 1991, with his victory in 2019 being among the most crushing in the state's poll history.

It was Ajit Pawar, the sitting MLA from the Baramati assembly segment, who used to play a key role in Sule's victory in the past polls by ensuring that the vote bank of the Pawars remained unaffected.

Besides Sule, Sharad Pawar (83) has also been touring the constituency and holding meetings with various groups to leave nothing for chance.

Polls to the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra will be held in five phases between April 19 and May 20 and votes will be counted on June 4.

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