Even as Mumbai shut down in paralysed anticipation of possible violence surrounding Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray’s death on Saturday, other parts of Maharashtra were wracked with violence over sugar cane prices. As one Delhi wag put it: “They say Delhi is the city of dynasties. But it’s Mumbai where royal family dynamics play out on the street.” The reference was to the widely-believed “secret story” behind the disputes over sugar cane prices — the open differences between Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar and his assertive nephew, Ajit Pawar. The younger Mr Pawar has been feeling sidelined of late; and it is generally assumed that the farmers protesting a lower-than-acceptable price for their sugar cane harvest from refining mills are part of an attempt to pressure his uncle, and remind everyone of the power he wields. Of course, a great deal of the senior Mr Pawar’s own influence comes from his connections with sugar cane mills.
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