Sunday, June 4, 2023

‘Will rethink decision to quit as NCP chief’: Pawar

In a dramatic development, Sharad Pawar on Tuesday decided to step down as the president of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) he founded and helmed since 1999. However, with pressure mounting on Pawar to take back his resignation, the 82-year-old veteran politician has sought 2-3 days to reconsider.
The announcement by Pawar at an event in Mumbai to release the updated version of his Marathi autobiography stunned leaders and workers of his party, and many were seen crying and pleading with the 82-year-old wily Maratha strongman to reconsider the surprise decision.
A meeting of a committee of party leaders—which Pawar said should decide on the election for his successor—was held at his residence later, after which his nephew Ajit Pawar announced that his uncle will need two to three days to ‘think over’ his decision.
The decision by one of the tallest Opposition leaders in the country who could bring their parties together against the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections also comes amid intense speculation over Ajit Pawar’s next political move.
“I am with you, but not as NCP chief,” Pawar, the master of twists and turns known for his deft political manoeuvring, told the emotional party workers. He had formed the NCP after he was expelled by the Congress for raising the issue of Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin.
The announcement by the NCP president, a key Congress ally, came less than a fortnight after his daughter and Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule indicated there will be two political ‘blasts’ in 15 days, one in Delhi and another in Maharashtra.
Many NCP workers refused to leave the venue of the book launch event even after Sharad Pawar left for his residence. They also threatened to go on a hunger strike. One even threatened to kill himself if Pawar did not relent.
Many NCP party leaders broke down at the event venue after Pawar’s announcement.


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