Mumbai, Nov 23 : Maharashtra deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who recently staged a coup of sorts in the Sharad Pawar-led NCP to assume the post, says it is one's work among masses and not political lineage (he is Pawar's nephew) that counts.
"I won't deny that hailing from a political family benefit you once...the first time around. But subsequently, you have to show your work. If your work is okay, you have people's support or else it withers away," he said in an interview to a TV channel.
Asked if senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, whom he replaced as the deputy Chief Minister, is sulking, he said, "Had that been the case, he wouldn't have proposed my name for the post."
To a query on whether he felt Bhujbal should now work at the Centre, he said, "Bhujbal will take a decision on the issue. He has worked at the grassroots. Tomorrow, if he feels that he should go to national politics, he will. The timing should be right."
"One day, he will surely go to national level as national leader of NCP. Of course, one can't say when this will happen. He will have to take a call on this as he is our elderly leader," he said.
Ajit Pawar said he has represented Baramati Assembly constituency five times. "The benefits of being from a political family may be applicable the first time around when voters may think on those lines. But when one fails to perform during the five-year term, people will feel this candidate does not have the ability to lead us or solve our problems."
Asked if it has been decided that he will look after Maharashtra and Supriya Sule, Pawar's MP daughter, will work in Delhi, Ajit Pawar said, "I don't think so."
"In 1991, I was a Lok Sabha member for a few months and have seen the atmosphere in Delhi. I feel that my style of working is more suited to the state. I will be able to work with more satisfaction here (Maharashtra).
"When Supriya entered political life, she was Rajya Sabha member and then became a Lok Sabha member. Going by her style of working, she is able to raise issues forcefully in Parliament and take them up with (Central) ministers. She is also content there," he said.
On public perception that he is a political heir of Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar said, "I haven't thought on those lines. People are bound to compare me (with Pawar senior). But one has to decide how much weightage is to be given to such sentiments."
"Even in Congress, when Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister, he was very young. Now, when Congress decides to make Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister, it can be done in a minute. Tomorrow, if he becomes Prime Minister, there are many senior leaders now who have worked with Indiraji and Soniaji.
This happens in political life. In BJP, Nitin Gadkari became party president. Considering his age, there were many who were very senior to him," Ajit Pawar said.
Earlier, when Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, R R Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal became the deputy Chief Minister, it was because MLAs were with them, he said. "Now, I have become Dy CM as legislators unanimously supported me," he added.
Asked if he harboured ambitions to becoming the Chief Minister one day, Ajit Pawar said in political life, everyone wants to reach the top. "But you should have the numbers with you."
On reports that there was a signature campaign by NCP MLAs to make him the deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar said there was no such campaign. "Media interpreted, discussed (the issue) in several ways," he added. PTI