Friday, June 2, 2023

Sharad Pawar relents, withdraws decision to step down as NCP chief

Sharad Pawar on Friday said he has decided to rescind his decision to step down as Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president, owing to pressure from party leaders and workers.
“I can’t disrespect your sentiments. Due to your love, I am accepting the demand that was made to me to withdraw my resignation,” Pawar, 82, told reporters, hours after the NCP panel selected by him to pick his successor passed a resolution that he continue as the party president.
Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who was seen backing his uncle’s decision to step down when he made that announcement on May 2, was not seen at the NCP chief’s press conference.
Asked about Ajit Pawar’s absence at Friday’s press briefing, Sharad Pawar told reporters, “not all people can be at all places”, and asked media not to read too much in his nephew’s absence.
Pawar said his daughter and MP Supriya Sule declined to a suggestion by party leaders to become NCP working president.
Pawar’s resignation announcement on Tuesday had sent shockwaves among the party cadre. After pressure from party workers and leaders had mounted, Pawar had said he would take two-three days to rethink his decision.
Pawar said he could not disrespect the sentiments of his colleagues and party workers who insisted that he withdraw his decision.
“I cannot disrespect their feelings. I am overwhelmed by the love, trust and faith showered on me. Considering the appeals made by all of you, and honouring the decision of the committee constituted by the party, I am withdrawing my decision to retire,” the veteran politician said.
“I had given a slight hint about my resignation to Ajit (Pawar), but did not tell anyone else sitting here,” he said.
He also stressed that there has to be a “succession plan” for any post or responsibility in an organization.
He will focus on making organizational changes in the party, assigning new responsibilities and creating new leadership, Pawar said.
“I will also work vigorously for the growth of the organisation and take our ideology and goals of the party to the people,” he said.
“During the publication of my autobiography, I had announced my retirement from the NCP chief’s post. After 63 years in public life, I wanted to be free from all responsibilities. However, my decision did not go down well with the people and a strong reaction was seen. NCP workers, office bearers, and people were unhappy.
“They asked me to reconsider my decision. They appealed me for the same. Also, leaders from various political parties across the state and the country requested me to continue as the president of the party,” Sharad Pawar said.
The NCP chief said that although he will continue with his responsibilities, his primary focus now would be creating a new leadership and handing over new responsibilities to them.
On his role ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Pawar said, “Bringing all parties together is important when it comes to the elections. I enjoy personal relations with many who said that I was required for this. They include Rahul Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury and many more.”
The rumours about some of our MLAs joining the BJP are completely false, he said.
On the absence of Ajit Pawar from the press conference where Sharad Pawar withdrew his resignation, state NCP chief Jayant Patil said, “Ajit Pawar was there to urge him to withdraw the resignation. He was there even when we visited Pawar Sahab’s residence after the decision was taken at the party office.”
The NCP panel met earlier on Friday wherein party leaders rejected Sharad Pawar’s resignation. “Pawar expressed his desire to step down as president of the party. We unanimously reject the resignation. We have passed a resolution that we will request him to carry on as party president,” NCP vice president Praful Patel told reporters before leaving for Sharad Pawar’s residence to brief him about the resolution.
The four-day long resignation drama followed recent media reports of a section of NCP MLAs planning to leave the party with Ajit Pawar to join the BJP, after which Ajit Pawar had said he will never leave the party.


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