Mumbai - She might be better known as MLC Jayant Patil's daughter in law, but Chitralekha Patil clearly has a mind of her own.
Patil heads the youth and the women's wing of the Peasants and Workers Party of India (also known as the Shetkari Kamgar Paksha) which is spearheaded by Jayant Patil. The petite 30-year-old belies the conviction that drives her.
In a freewheeling conversation with Mumbai Live, Chitralekha spoke passionately about her commitment to the Left cause, countered allegations against her family and expressed hope that the PWP was now on the upswing in the state.
"I was not into politics before I got married. I was inspired by Bhai Jayant Patil - his vision for the youth and the freedom allowed to women within the PWP, that's what attracted me to politics," she says.
While the PWP is still struggling for its existence in Mumbai, Patil maintained that the PWP has always spearheaded the successful battles waged by the working classes in Mumbai. "We will not move away from our ideology, we have always been secular and have worked for the interests of the common man," she said.
Although the party has not had a great showing in the civic body polls held recently, Patil said the PWP still boasts a larger voter base than it did 20 years ago. "We have inched up a bit. We may not be winners
but we have been honest to our principles," she averred.
"We too get a lot of offers for alliances and inductions into the party, but we will align ourselves only with those who agree with our ideology," she said firmly.
About allegations against the Patil family that it often indulges in dynastic politics, giving precedence to family members, Patil said that if those family members are accepted by the people, and are coincidentally related to each other, it should not bother anyone.
"If we are working honestly for the party and have a common ideology, it is wrong to accuse us of indulging in dynasty politics," she said.
On the other hand, party workers too have full scope to rise to their potential within the PWP, she claimed. "Bhai has always asked people in the Alibaug taluka if they would be willing to contest elections before he takes a call on the allotment of tickets," she said.
On the allegation that the party and the Patil family has been named in controversies, she clarified that all the Patil family members keep their lives separate. "Bhai has his own business to run, we are also active in this business and running a business is not a crime in this country. Success often attracts criticism," she shrugged.
"We don't compromise on our party ideology while we run our businesses," she said.
Patil said she had no lofty personal ambitions but that she was keen to take the leftist ideology propagated by the PWP to the people.
"The biggest satisfaction is to see change happening when you work for the good of the people," she said.