“I have nothing to say about those who are claiming the party’s symbol and name. We will go to the people and try to garner their support for us, our stand and our ideology. Party workers are our real strength. They are fighting for us and can get upset as our leaders have gone with people against whom we have fought.
Nobody will take away my right to reach and talk to people,” Pawar said. The campaign will start from Karad in Satara district after paying tribute to Yashwantrao Chavan, his political guru.
Pawar told reporters at his residence in Pune that he will not put up a legal fight for the party’s name and symbol after Ajit staked his claim to it, but action will be taken against all NCP leaders, who are now a part of the state government.When asked “who will be the reassuring face of the party in the future”, the octogenarian raised his hand and said, “Sharad Pawar.”
Pawar said the PM had mentioned the irrigation scam and corruption in state cooperative bank (Maharashtra state cooperative bank, apex bank of all cooperative banks). “So, if the credit for this split has to be given, I will give it to PM Narendra Modi. I am thankful to PM Modi for giving this clean chit,” he added.
“I am happy that PM has cleared some NCP colleagues of corruption charges as they are now ministers in the government. This means that the allegations were baseless,” Pawar said. Modi, while speaking at a workers’ meet in June last week in Bhopal, had accused the NCP of being involved in corruption worth Rs70,000 crore and urged BJP workers to uncover more scams.
Pawar said that he “was not aware” that Ajit had tendered his resignation as the leader of the opposition of the state assembly on Friday. “He (Ajit) has not given a letter to the party. He must have given the paper to the speaker of the house (in the state assembly). The speaker has the power to appoint the leader of the opposition,” he said, adding that he will speak to Congress and Sena (UBT) leaders on the appointment of a new leader of the opposition. The decision on which party will get the post will be taken based on the numbers.
The NCP president said he was “not worried about leaders leaving the party” as it was not new to him. A similar exodus had happened in the past and a majority of the MLAs, who had defected then, could not win subsequent elections, he said. “I am not worried about my party’s future, but I am worried about the election of the leaders who have left the party now,” he added.
Pawar said BJP leaders and those, who were hoping to get ministerial berths, appeared worried during the oath-taking ceremony on Sunday. The NCP chief said as the president of the party, he had given the appointment letters of general secretary to Praful Patel and Sunil Tatkare. “They have not performed their duties for the benefit of the party in this matter. So, the party leader, who had appointed them, has lost trust in them. Either they should come forward and take corrective measures or I will do it,” he said.
On whether his nephew’s exit from the party would cause a rift in the family, Pawar said he was not upset with Patel or his nephew, and that “the party has split, but the home is intact”.