New Delhi: Pritam Munde, a 32-year-old medical doctor who had never contested an election before, will for some time now be known as the MP who bettered Prime Minister Narendra Modi's victory margin.
Voters in Beed, Maharashtra, have elected Dr Munde as their lawmaker by a margin of almost seven lakh votes. She polled 9.22 lakh votes in one of the few contests in the state that was not four-cornered.
The Shiv Sena and the NCP did not field candidates against Pritam, who is the younger daughter of union minister and powerful Maharashtra politician Gopinath Munde, who died in a car accident in Delhi in June, barely a month after the new BJP government was sworn in.
Talking to NDTV, the new BJP lawmaker described herself as a "new kid on the block" but rejected the charge of dynastic politics, insisting that she was picked to stand for the election because the people of the area wanted her to.
She accepted that the Shiv Sena choosing not to field a candidate against her helped her post the big win, but says Sharad Pawar's NCP extending her the same courtesy did not have much political impact.
Gopinath Munde had, along with Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, scripted their parties' alliance 25 years ago, when Pritam was seven.
About her gigantic win from her father's former constituency, Ms Munde said, "I would not call it a sympathy wave."
"People at the grassroots level are emotionally connected with my father... He was always there to solve their problems. Calling it a sympathy wave is unfair," Ms Munde said, adding, "They believe that we will be carrying forward the legacy, it's the belief people had in us, that is the reason for our victory."
In the by-election made necessary by Mr Munde's death, Pritam beat a former Congress minister. On the same day, her older sister Pankaja Munde won from the Parli assembly constituency for the second time.
In the national elections this year, Mr Modi had won from Vadodara in Gujarat by a margin of 5.7 lakh votes. That was about 20,000 votes short of a record established by a CPI(M) candidate in West Bengal in 2004. Ms Munde smashed that record yesterday.