President son wins close match

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Delhi
  • Published 22.10.09
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New Delhi, Oct. 22: President Pratibha Patil’s son Rajendrasingh Shekhawat has won a closely fought race in Amravati to debut as an MLA in Maharashtra after battling charges that he used his mother’s clout to win a ticket.

Congress candidate Shekhawat, popularly known as “Raosaheb” in Amravati, defeated his nearest rival, Independent Sunil Deshmukh, by 5,614 votes in what was possibly the most closely watched contest of the Maharashtra polls.

Deshmukh, was the sitting Congress MLA from Amravati, and left the party to contest as an Independent after he was denied the ticket this time.

The nomination of the President’s son triggered allegations from his critics — both within and outside the Congress — that Patil was using her constitutional post to lobby for her family.

The battle between Shekhawat and Deshmukh transformed into a personal slander match with each accusing the other of misleading voters.

Deshmukh, who has been MLA in Amravati since 1999, accused the President’s family of failing to fulfill promises it had made during its earlier reign over the region.

Patil was an MP from Amravati and her husband Devisingh Shekhawat an MLA from the town.

Deshmukh also accused the President’s family of misusing its official position to lure voters. Devisingh Shekhawat spent the last week before elections in Amravati though the President stayed away from Maharashtra.

But Shekhawat accused Deshmukh of exaggerating his claims of development in Amravati over the past 10 years.