Meetings between public figures and underworld elements are no novelty but when they happen one after another and a chief minister or deputy chief minister (DCM) are in the picture, literally, eyebrows are bound to raise. Photographs of Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde’s son Dr Shrikant, MP, and DCM Ajit Pawar himself, besides his son Parth, receiving mafia members have gone viral over the past few days, igniting a political inferno. Coincidentally, this is happening when the state is rocked on account of indiscriminate firing by BJP’s Kalyan (East) MLA Ganpat Gaikwad at his foes inside a police station. Gaikwad had made serious allegations against Shinde and Shrikant. The CM’s supporters have taken objection to it and demanded BJP’s action against Gaikwad. Amidst all this, the first shock was notorious muscle man Gajaa Marane’s meeting with Parth in the latter’s Pune residence. Ajit later said it should not have happened and admonished his son. Within a few days, the CM was cornered when his son Shrikant received good wishes from Hemant Dabhekar, a known criminal from Pune, at ‘Varsha,’ official residence of the CM. The occasion was Shrikant’s birthday. Even before the dust was settling, Pimpri-Chinchwad’s don Asif Mohamed Iqbal Shaikh alias Asif Dadhi met Ajit Pawar. The purpose of the meeting is not known but it is believed that Asif is desirous of entering politics. The Opposition parties in Maharashtra have found ready-made cannon fodder and are making full use of the opportunity.