Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar completed his 50 years in the electoral politics on Wednesday, an eventful career which has seen his rise from the grassroots to prominent state and national slots.
His daughter and Lok Sabha member from Baramati, Supriya Sule, told PTI that her father won his first election to the Legislative Assembly on February 22, 1967.
“The first election was won on this day and he took oath as a member of the Legislative Assembly on March 13, 1967,” she said.
Supriya also took to twitter to wish her father. “Congratulations to @pawarspeaks on completing 50 glorious years in assembly and parliament continuously from 1967 to 2017. Proud of you,” she tweeted (sic).
Senior NCP leader Praful Patel, Pawar’s nephew and former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar were prominent among those who wished him on the occasion.
The half-a-century has witnessed many changes in politics of the nation, including major splits in Congress, in some of which the 76-year-old Pawar himself played a central role.
The ‘Maratha Strongman’, as he is often referred to by friends and rivals, plunged into politics as a grassroots worker in home turf Baramati in western Maharashtra in 1960s, and grew up under the tutelage of the late Y B Chavan.
A hub of cooperatives, crucial in the state politics, western Maharashtra has always been a fertile ground for the youngsters to learn the ropes in politics.
A player for all seasons, Pawar’s name has since then been synonymous with power politics, both in Maharashtra and on the national stage.
After his first election to the Maharashtra Assembly in 1967, Pawar has never lost any electoral contest, a feat which has eluded many of his contemporaries.
After scoring his maiden victory, the young Pawar was inducted as a junior minister. Later, he was elevated to the Cabinet rank and over the years held several key portfolios in the state.
In 1978, he became the youngest Chief Minister of Maharashtra at 38, a post at which he had three more stints.