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Relatives to slug it out in Maharashtra poll ring

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Maharashtra will witness many politicians battling it out against their relatives who are contesting as candidates of rival parties to enter the Assembly.

Ashish Deshmukh, nephew of Nationalist Congress Party leader and Food and Civil Supplies minister Anil Deshmukh, is pitted against his uncle in Katol, which Anil has been representing since 1995.

Ashish, who is a BJP candidate, is the son of former State Congress chief Ranjit Deshmukh while his elder brother Amol is the NCP candidate from Ramtek for the October 15 polls.

Ashish said he was always with the BJP and contested the 2009 Assembly polls from Saoner.

“I lost narrowly. I am a supporter of smaller states which the BJP advocates. NCP has done injustice to Vidarbha and I want to ensure that NCP does not get a single seat in the region,” he told, asserting that political ideologies do not come in way of family relations.

His brother Amol was interested in getting a ticket from the Congress. But the party fielded Shiv Sena leader turned Congressman Subodh Mohite. Instead of contesting as an independent, Amol went into the NCP fold.

Politics drove a wedge in the family of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde when he chose his eldest daughter Pankaja to replace him in Parli assembly constituency in 2009 over his nephew Dhananjay.

Dhananjay, who was made an MLC, quit the BJP to join NCP. This assembly poll, the two cousins are pitted against each other.

Pankaja, who has been brought to the centrestage of BJP state unit after her father’s sudden demise, is seeking re-election from Parli while estranged cousin Dhananjay is the candidate from the Sharad Pawar-led party.

Congressman Sanjay Devtale jumped on to the BJP bandwagon after his party fielded his sister-in-law Asawari Devtale from Warora instead of him. Now, Devtale is pitted against Asawari who is making her electoral debut.

Asawari, a gynaecologist by profession, told that she felt sad that politics has created tension in her family.

“My mother-in-law and Sanjay Devtale’s mother are sisters. Sanjaybhau is the first cousin of my husband Vijay. We are a close joint family,” she added.

The break-up of alliances in Maharashtra, especially, has led members of many ‘political families’ to contest from rival parties, according to observers.

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