Friday, October 27, 2006

Daughter steps into Pramod Mahajan’s shoes :: Daughter steps into Pramod Mahajan’s shoes: NO SON-RISE: After Priya Dutt and Supriya Sule, Poonam latest to inherit father’s political legacy

Poonam Mahajan joins a list of daughters in Maharashtra who have inherited the political legacy of their fathers. Just last month, Maratha leader and NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule entered the Rajya Sabha; Sunil Dutt’s daughter Priya is already in the Lok Sabha; Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s daughter Pranati is her father’s poll manager; and Congress MP Eknath Gaikwad’s daughter Varsha is now an MLA.

Varsha Gaikwad is a PhD in Maths and quit her job at Mumbai University to follow in her father’s footsteps. Her constituency is Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum where she’s rooting for free public schools for the poor and open spaces.

Sushil Kumar Shinde’s 25-year-old daughter Pranati is the youngest of the crop. She manages poll campaigns for her father in Solapur and, with her fund-raising campaigns for cancer, is perhaps hoping to wipe off mother Ujjwala Shinde’s loss in the 2005 assembly polls with a thumping political debut.

However, perhaps the one son who made it from Maharashtra doesn’t see the arrival of daughters as an example of women empowerment. Milind Deora, son of Petroleum Minister Murali Deora and South Mumbai MP, says: “The real role women should play in politics should not be in Parliament but in the villages. I’m saying it openly and it applies to me too: political heirs are not examples in empowerment. Unless people from villages rise to the top without any political background, I’ll not call it a change.’’

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