The 2019 general elections have been witnessing the opposition camp going into various uncomfortable twists and turns. From arch rivals SP and BSP forging an alliance of convenience to Raj Thackeray emerging as the new liberal hero this general election has been seeing it all. However, defying even political compulsions, the constituents of this opposition camp are not willing to compromise on the placement of the heirs of their political dynasties. Be it Mamata Banerjee’s nephew in Bengal or Deve Gowda’s grandson in Karnataka, the widespread nepotism in several parties still remains a dominant force trumping even basic knowledge of ground realities.
Similar is the case of Sharad Pawar’s grand nephew and Ajit Pawar’s son, Parth Pawar, who has been parachuted in to contest from the Maval parliamentary constituency in Maharashtra, after Sharad Pawar had made space for him. Next in line for the NCP throne, Parth’s background is sure to sow some seeds of doubt in the minds of political experts who are aware of the political complexities that await him.
Many experts have also pointed out why Parth Pawar with his limited political knowledge was parachuted into the electoral battleground of Maval, an industrial and farming region in western Maharashtra. Parth has been called out with his initial impressions for being clueless about politics, for lacking on-stage charisma and “speaking Marathi like an Englishman”.
The London educated, Parth Pawar had enrolled himself in a business course in Regent’s University where his real aim, however, was to experience the “elite scene” of the British capital. “I wanted to have all the fun in my life. I knew I’d be a public servant and then I won’t be able to do these things.” However after two years into this course he had returned with the hope to finish his bachelor’s degree and had to start all over again.
Parth, in an interview, also recollects incidents where he had pulled his political connections to get work done for his friends, “I was under the impression that Mumbai University was a cakewalk, you could do anything out there… At the time, Rajesh Tope was the education minister. Whenever my friends wanted something, I would help them out with Tope. If they wanted admission in a college, I’d put them on to him. I thought that if they can get in, 100% it will be easy for me.”
Poised to take over NCP’s large political empire Parth Pawar has already been defending the multi billion rupee scam allegations which have marred the reputation of NCP. He had said: “After doing such great work, we were criticized for a scam we were not part of. Our PRO didn’t do a good job and our name was tarnished”
However with insignificant political knowledge, Parth Pawar seems to be confident on riding on the back of his family’s legacy “I have my aunt (Supriya Sule), father (Ajit Pawar) and grandfather (Sharad Pawar) with me,” he said once, “If I don’t work, I’ll immediately feel the heat.”
Parth Pawar, even with his family’s political legacy is poised to face stiff resistance in Maval, a seat where the NCP has lost two successive elections. However the party cadres also believe that a Pawar would have a greater chance to win from the seat. Nepotism has been plaguing the Indian political scenario for long. It has been the main cause of inefficient governance and policies. This case of an individual being parachuted into the complex political scene just because of his family legacy is just another link in the long chain of dynasticism.