A day after the political row over his statements, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar said on Saturday that he remains NCP’s national President while Jayant Patil is the state President, reiterating that the party “has not split”.
He reiterated that though some MLAs have quit the party, they don’t constitute a political unit and the party has not split — referring to the breakaway faction led by his nephew Ajit Pawar.
“Why give them importance by taking their names? People are upset with those who have gone with the BJP. I can see a change coming in Maharashtra and the people will show the BJP its real place,” declared Pawar.
Touching on the upcoming third meeting of the grand opposition alliance I.N.D.I.A., Pawar said that it would review the preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and chart out programmes for joint electioneering in different parts of the country.
Launching a strong attack on the BJP, he said they have unleashed central probe agencies against the Opposition parties and their leaders. “I shall continue to fight against such fascist forces… There has been misuse of central investigating agencies (CBI, ED and I-T). Those who couldn’t face them have gone with them,” he said.
Pawar also revealed how NCP leaders like Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh, and Shiv Sena (UBT)’s MP Sanjay Raut were threatened with the ED-CBI and asked to join the BJP.
“They displayed courage and opposed them… So they ended up in jail. They (Malik, Deshmukh, Raut) deserve to be saluted,” said Pawar.
Without taking names, he rued how several of his former associates – who had no guts to face the probe agencies – jumped ship to the ruling side and freed themselves from all the problems.