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LS polls in Vidarbha is a family affair

By Joseph Rao in Nagpur
March 10, 2009 11:57 IST
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The present generation of the Nehru-Gandhi family is often accused of dynasty rule but going by the record, other parties have also fielded their family members for the Lok Sabha polls in Vidarbha region.

Youth leader and Congress general secretary, Mukul Wasnik, Washim Shiv Sena Member of Parliament Bhawana Gawali, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Sudhakar Naik, Kamaltai Gavai, Chitlekha Bhosale are some of the prominent leaders whose family members had represented the same constituency earlier.

Wasnik stepped into the shoes of his father, veteran Congress leader Balkrishna Wasnik, in 1984 from Buldana reserved constituency.

His father (Balkrishna) had the privilege of winning thrice from three different Lok Sabha Constituencies. First time he got elected from Bhandara in 1957, securing, 2,27,884 votes. After the Constituency was reorganised, he shifted to Gondia in 1962 to retain his Lok Sabha membership. That year he polled 1,14,985 votes. Wasnik's last election was in 1980 from Buldana reserved (Schedule Caste) when he mustered 1,75,800 votes to win.

Veteran Shiv Sena leader Pundalikrao Gawali and his daughter Bhawana Gawali had the privilege of representing Washim constituency. While Pundalikrao represented Washim in 1996 (2,28,328) defeating Sudhakarrao Naik who ended up with 2,11,594 votes, Bhawana has been representing the same constituency for last two terms of 1999 and 2004. During the last Lok Sabha polls, she polled 49.77 per cent (3,58,682) of the votes to trounce Nationalist Congress Party leader Manohar Naik (2,97,784).

Manohar Naik is also from the then Chief Ministers Vasantrao Naik and Sudhakar Naik's family. Vasantrao Naik, the longest serving chief minister of Maharashtra, had represented Washim in 1977 after securing 2,13,339 votes.

About two decades later, in 1996, Sudhakarrao Naik, nephew of Vasantrao Naik, unsuccessfully contested from Washim. But he staged a comeback in 1998 by defeating Shiv Sena nominee Dyneshwar Shewale.

Kamaltai, wife of veteran Republican Party of India leader and now Governor of Kerala R S Gavai, had tried her luck unsuccessfully in 1980 from their hometown Amravati. She lost to Congress leader Ushatai Choudhary who mustered 2,56,916 votes.

Raje Tejsinghrao Bhosale from the erstwhile Royal family of Nagpur won in 1991 from Ramtek Lok Sabha seat on a Congress ticket (2,40,437) by defeating Pandurang Hajare (Janata Dal) who polled 1,02,483.

Seven years later, Bhosale's widow Chitralekha won from the same constituency in 1998 by beating the Shiv Sena candidate Ashok Gujar.

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Joseph Rao in Nagpur