Committed, transparent, aggressive, leader, down-to-earth, straight-forward, great administrator and an intelligent politician. Yes, I am talking about Shri Ajit Pawar, popularly known as Dada (Elder Brother), currently serving as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Known for his quick decisions and blunt nature, Dada has a powerful aura in the society.
Dada follows simplicity. He is a powerful personality with immense multi-tasking ability. The fact that he simultaneously handles farming, poultry, bank, education institutes, cooperative sector, ministry and many more profiles, is a testimony of his ability. He believes in hard work and often says there is no short cut of success. He has huge fan following owing to the fact that he spends 80% of his time for social work and 20% for politics. In his busy schedule that starts at 6 am and gets over at 11 pm, he makes it a point to meet every single person who comes to meet him.
Dada is known as a trusted leader of thousands of activists from Maharashtra. He has achieved this status because of his thoughts, actions and achievements. Therefore, workers from every corner of the state do not hesitate to carry their grievance to Dada wherever he is. He is their trusted guide, he is their inspiration. One essential feature of Dada’s style of work is that whatever be the development activity he pours his heart into it. He is a leader who has the political willpower to resolve the problem of regional imbalance of Maharashtra with a penchant for natural justice. Every action by Dada is backed by firm conviction, definite approach, proper planning, imaginative vision and responsible administration. The famous line of Shree Samarth Ramdas, “Bole Taisa Chale” (Action as per words) applies to him perfectly. What he says, he commits, and does it at any cost. He says words should be backed by action! He is a practical person and doesn’t believe in making false commitments. His angle is always positive, social and works for the benefit of society rather than anybody’s personal benefit. After the late Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Vasantdada Patil, only Shri Ajit Pawar has the honour of being addressed as “Dada”. This honor is a testament to his popularity.
Dada is the nephew of Shri Sharad Pawar, the Union Cabinet Minister of Agriculture and the chief of Nationalist Congress Party. Dada is the son of Shri Anantrao Pawar who was an elder brother of Shri Sharad Pawar. Shri Anantrao followed a less conventional career of working for V Shantaram’s Rajkamal studio. His paternal grandfather, Shri Govindrao Pawar was employed by the Baramati farmers’ Cooperative body (Sahakari Kharedi Vikri Sangh) whilst his grandmother, Smt Shardabai looked after the family farm at Katewadi, ten kilometers from Baramati in Pune district. She was serving at primary school and was member of Pune District Local Board.
Dada’s elder son Parth is same like Dada. He has completed his Business Management course from UK, whereas younger son Jay is also studying the same course in Mumbai. Dada’s wife Sunetra; who is known as Vahini has a lion’s share and support in Dada’s development. Vahini also follows and believes simplicity and never interferes in Dada’s political matters. She says, Dada is like a coconut, seems tough from outside but indeed very soft by nature and heart. His image was built as a rude person, but it’s neither arrogance nor rudeness; it’s his voice which is little louder than others which is a gift of nature. Along with Maharashtra; Dada takes care of his family. He is very sensitive & alert about his sons’ education & other activities. He is a responsible father. He tries to attend all family & friends functions if time permits. Whenever he gets time, he spends it with his family on an outing, travel, visit to farm house or dine with them. Though most of the time he stays in Mumbai, he likes food from rural Maharashtra, such as Bajari Bhakari & Harbhara daal (Bengal Gram) vegetable. He also like to listen various songs of Kishorkumar & Rajesh Khanna is his favourite actor. For his family, Dada’s presence itself is a part of most pleasure than anything else. Vahini says, in last some years he became pretty busy than earlier, but we have accepted it as we are well aware of his routine being a politician and his responsible portfolio.
Dada made his foray into politics in 1982 when he was elected to a sugar cooperative body. Later on he got elected as a chairman of the Pune District Co-operative Bank (PDC) in 1991. He remained in this position for over 15 years. During this period he was elected to Lok Sabha from Baramati Lok Sabha constituency. He later vacated his Lok Sabha seat in favour of his uncle, Shri Sharad Pawar who had then become a Defense minister in Shri P V Narasimha Rao’s government.
Thereafter, he was elected as a Member of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) from Baramati Vidhan Sabha constituency in 1991. He went on to become minister of state for Agriculture and Power (June 1991 – Nov 1992) in Shri Sudhakarrao Naik’s government. Later he became minister of state for Soil Conservation, Power and Planning (Nov 1992 – Feb 1993) when Shri Sharad Pawar returned to the state as chief minister.
In 1999, when Congress-NCP combine came into power, Dada was promoted to the rank of a cabinet minister. He became minister for the coveted Irrigation department (Oct 1999 – Dec 2003) in Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh’s government. He was given additional charge of Rural Development department (Dec 2003 – Oct 2004) in Shri Sushilkumar Shinde’s government.
In 2004, When Congress-NCP combine returned to power he retained the Water Resources ministry (name changed from Irrigation department to Water Resources department) (Nov 2004 – Oct 2009) in Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh’s government and later in Shri Ashok Chavan’s government. He also became the Guardian minister for Pune district in 2004 and has held the post since then.
I met him several times during the last decade. I found him a very dynamic & capable person. If your work is legal, he will immediately do it. If not, then he will clearly say not possible don’t come again with such type of work. I liked it. When I asked him on this, he said, I don’t want to waste people’s time & money. Many poor people come from rural places and can’t afford to stay in Mumbai. It’s in vain to come to Mantralaya if your work is not in legal frame, so I clearly say ‘No’ to them. It’s always better to be blunt than showing false dreams.
Recently, there was news in media regarding a youth who was cheated by some educationist for offering him job and took Rs 6 Lac from him. He was neither getting job nor his money back. When he told this to Dada, Dada got angry and he fired the concerned educationist and that youth got his money back! Dada didn’t know that youth, still he helped him immediately; shows Dada’s anger against injustice is society at the same time his willingness to help such a grass root people. Recently he helped 25 families for medical aid worth rupees more than 53 Lacs as told by his personal assistant Sunil Musale.
Since 2007 corporation elections and subsequent Zilla Parishad elections, he has had umbrella control over Pune, the cultural capital of Maharashtra, and its surrounding rural area. He is credited for efforts taken to resolve traffic congestion in Pune and the Industrial area of Pimpri-Chinchwad through vast constructions of flyovers, sub-ways and widened roads which at times attracted criticism. He is credited for making Pimpri-Chinchwad a good model of development in India. In 2011-12 Pimpri-Chinchwad Corporation (PCMC) received the first national award in urban development.
His keen pursuit to pull out the state from power crisis has resulted in marginal reduction in load shedding. In 2011, he resolved to totally eliminate load shedding (power outage) in Maharashtra by Dec 2012.
Dada had shown his dynamic leadership again when Mantralaya was facing Fire. Dada took charge and activated the whole administration with his guidance. Only sad part is that he has lost his two friends, activists of Baramati in that fire. He was shocked to hear that and still couldn’t forget the incidence and past memories of them. Still he feels guilty, acknowledges his love and affection towards his friends and activists.
Dada has successfully established himself. He takes many important decisions without any fear of reaction. He ordered to crack down on hoardings and flexes. He has instructed officials not to spare anyone while taking action against it as they are making city ugly. He made a declaration that the state would give up its revenue of over 100 crore earned by the sale of gutka. Dada is working day & night for many issues like power, water, metro railways, and traffic etc issues.
Many things, many incidences to write about Dada, but it is an endless story as he is doing remarkable work to make Maharashtra Sujalam-Sufalam adding every day. Dada obviously has such political will power. He wishes to achieve the highest political position in Maharashtra as it is wish of the common public of the state, and by the amount and quality of work that he is doing, he will soon achieve it. Hence his responsibility is magnified multifold and he certainly has necessary ability and experience to handle this responsibility. No astrologer is required to predict it as it will come true in near future.
Dada was born on July 22, 1959 and today is Dada’s 53rd birthday and we wish him all the best as we know he is the best.
Dada… Happy Birthday !!