On Baramati LS Fight, Supriya Sule Likens Sunetra Pawar To 'A Mother'; BJP Slams 'Emotional Appeal'

BJP questioned why Sule is opposing Sunetra Pawar if she considers her like a mother. They also alleged that Sule's statement was merely an 'emotional appeal' for political gain.

Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule (L) with Ajit Pawar's wife Sunetra Pawar (R) | Photo: PTI

NCP-Sharadchandra Pawar MP Supriya Sule on Sunday stated that the conflict between herself and her sister-in-law, Sunetra Pawar, in the Baramati constituency is a scheme orchestrated by the Bharatiya Janata Party to undermine the political career of Nationalist Congress Party founder, Sharad Pawar. She also mentioned that her opponent, sunetra Pawar is like 'a mother' to her.

BJP questioned why Sule is opposing Sunetra Pawar if she considers her like a mother. They also alleged that Sule's statement was merely an 'emotional apeeal' for political gain.

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, the hometurf of Sharad Pawar, is gearing up for a high-profile showdown as the NCP's Ajit Pawar faction has nominated Sunetra Pawar, wife of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, to contest against Sule.

The NCP (SP) has chosen Sule, the daughter of Sharad Pawar and a three-term Member of Parliament, as its candidate in the constituency.

This contest between the Pawar family members is a result of a split within the original NCP last year, when Ajit Pawar aligned himself with the ruling BJP and Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, along with his loyalist MLAs.

What did Supriya Sule say?

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

Terming the nomination as part of BJP's "dirty politics" she added, “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."

Baramati goes to polls in the third phase on May 7.

How has BJP reacted?

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pravin Darekar responded to allegations made by Baramati MP Supriya Sule, stating that his party did not purposely cause divisions within families for political advantage.

In a pre-recorded message, MLC Darekar denied Sule's claims and stated, "The entire state knows who engineered divisions in the families of several politicians and reaped benefits from it. The state exactly knows who is that house-breaker," referring to Sharad Pawar.

If Sunetra Pawar is like a mother then why is Sule fighting against her, Darekar asked, adding the statement by the Baramati MP was just an emotional appeal for political gain.

Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Shirsat too criticised Sule and said the latter must allow Sunetra Pawar to win if she thought of her as a mother.

"She should let her win and give a gift to her brother. Even if the family was divided by the BJP, Sule should act as per tradition and culture and ensure Sunetra Pawar's victory," Shirsat said.

Significance of Baramati constituency

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.