Amid speculation that the candidature of Rajendra Shekhawat, son of President Pratibha Patil, has been cleared for Maharashtra Assembly polls, the state Congress leadership left it to the party high command to decide the issue of tickets to kins of senior leaders.
"I have no idea. Tickets have to be given by AICC, not me," said Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Similar was the refrain of Maharashtra Congress chief Manikrao Thakre. Both the leaders steered clear of questions whether Shekhawat's candidature has been cleared and whether it was appropriate for the son of the President to contest such polls.
There have been almost a dozen cases of aspirants who are kith and kin of senior leaders.
Deshmukh's son Amit is a prominent aspirant from Latur while another Union Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's daughter Praniti wants to contest from Solapur Central.
Shinde's son-in-law Raj Shr off is seeking a ticket from a Mumbai constituency.
Sons of senior leaders Datta Meghe, Pramod Shende and Naresh Pugalia are also aspirants. The name of Archana Patil, daugther-in-law of Shivraj Patil, is also doing the rounds in party circles.
The senior leaders who are seeking tickets for their relatives are reportedly making efforts to ensure that Rajendra Shekhawat is fielded from Amravati by the party.
"A ticket to the President's son will automatically help them to push the cases of their wards," a senior leader said.
Talk in congress circles was that Thakre as also Deshmukh sought to persuade Maharashtra Minister Sunil Deshmukh, who had been representing Amravati, to move to some other constituency.
Efforts to contact Sunil Deshmukh did not succeed and reports have it that he could turn a rebel if denied a party ticket.