Days after Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar appealed that he be assigned a role in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) organisation, party president Sharad Pawar on Monday said such a decision cannot be taken by one person and key party leaders will sit to take a call on it.
Notably, Sharad Pawar recently entrusted the responsibility of Maharashtra to his daughter and Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule by appointing her as a working president. Praful Patel is another working president for other states.
“Key leaders including him (Ajit) will sit together and they will take a decision on this. Today, everyone in the party has the sentiment to work in the party organisation and he (Ajit) reflected upon the same sentiment,” Pawar told reporters at his home town Baramati.
Ajit Pawar, who is the nephew of Sharad Pawar, recently appealed to the party leadership to relieve him of the responsibility as Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly and assign him any role in the party organisation.
Responding to Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ remark that while the revolt led by CM Eknath Shinde (against the Shiv Sena leadership last year) was termed as “betrayal”, the NCP chief’s act in 1978 was perceived as a “strategy”.
Pawar senior said Fadnavis is saying due to ignorance.“He (Fadnavis) must have been a small kid then, that’s why he does not know the history. But for his knowledge, I would like to explain that when I formed the government, I took everyone along,” he said. At that time, Uttamrao Patil, who was from the Jana Sangh (BJP’s forerunner), was the deputy chief minister, he said. “Since he (Fadnavis) was in primary school, that is why today he is making a statement due to lack of knowledge,” the NCP chief said.
Later in the evening, Fadnavis reiterated stating, “Perhaps Pawar did not listen to it properly or tried to distract people. I never said Pawar betrayed, but only underlined how Pawar’s move is termed a strategy while Shinde’s rebellion is seen as betrayal. Even as I was kid then, history wont change.”
The NCP chief also responded to criticism from opponents that the NCP uses Other Backward Classes (OBC) for namesake but does not give any party position to OBC leaders. Sharad Pawar said such comments show there is lack of knowledge over this point. “The first state NCP chief was Chhagan Bhujbal. Who is he? After him, (Madhukarrao) Pichad was in that position. After him, Sunil Tatkare, who was he? See the list,” he said.
“They (BJP leaders) also know that the question raised by them is not in sync with the facts,” he added.
Fadnavis later countered Pawar saying, “Everyone knows that OBCs are just for name in NCP and the party is dominated by who. I do not have to say it when insiders in NCP often murmur about this.”
Bhujbal recently batted for an OBC state unit chief of the party and also threw his hat in the ring. He was the first president of the state NCP when it was formed in 1999. Bhujbal said current NCP Maharashtra unit chief Jayant Patil had been on the post for five years, adding BJP’s state president Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Congress state unit chief Nana Patole were OBCs.