Ajit Pawar (left), who rebelled against his own uncle, has severely damaged Sharad Pawar. He not only took 43 MLAs with him but also the rank and file of the party. (Getty)
Political observers say Sharad Pawar’s politics has always revolved around ‘power’ and that is how the NCP came into being. Now, it’s a major challenge for the veteran leader to keep his remaining flock together and align himself with the anti-BJP line to keep his faction and himself relevant Will he, won’t he seems to be the question on everyone’s mind in Maharashtra as the NCP — torn down the middle due to a family rebellion — struggles to find its footing.
The party, as of now, has two state presidents. While a big chunk of leaders has joined the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis led government in the state, the other faction is with the INDIA alliance.
Ajit Pawar has advised uncle and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar to retire, given his age, but Senior Pawar is holding rallies in constituencies of leaders who have now became cabinet ministers. Sharad Pawar recently held rallies in Chaggan Bhujbal’s constituency in Nasik district, Dhananjay Munde’s constituency in Beed district and Hasan Mushir’s constituency in Kolhapur, criticising the leaders’ decision to jump ship. However, his daughter Supriya Sule is of the opinion that there is ‘no split’ in the NCP.
The current scenario in the NCP reminds one the old Akbar and Birbal tale in which the emperor got a parrot and ordered his staff to take utmost care of the bird. Unfortunately, the parrot died in some days due to change in weather and the caretaker, fearing Akbar’s anger, sought Birbal’s help.
The quick-witted Birbal informed Akbar that his parrot had become a saint who just looks up but has stopped eating and moving. On taking a look at the bird, the emperor discovered that it had died. He also understood Birbal’s clever thinking and realised his mistake.
However, in the case of NCP, it seems there is no Birbal left in the party. Ajit Pawar, who rebelled against his own uncle, has severely damaged Sharad Pawar. He not only took 43 MLAs with him but also the rank and file of the party.
Once upon a time, NCP MLAs or leaders from any corner of Maharashtra would mark their attendance in Nariman Point-based YB Chavan Centre on one call from Sharad Pawar. However, no rush is seen in the premises now. Instead, people can be seen at ‘Devagiri’ — the official residence of Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister and finance minister Ajit Pawar.
Political observers say Sharad Pawar’s politics has always revolved around ‘power’ and that is how the NCP came into being. Now, it’s a major challenge for the veteran leader to keep his remaining flock together and align himself with the anti-BJP line to keep his faction and himself relevant in today’s scenario.
It’s not easy for Sharad Pawar to maintain this stand, especially as one faction enjoys power and the other lives in fear of central agencies coming knocking. In such a scenario, taking NCP ahead will be the biggest task for Sharad Pawar at this juncture.
Before Ajit Pawar’s visit to Baramati, Supriya Sule’s statement about the former still being leader of the party and insistence that there is ‘no split’ in the NCP has created confusion not only in the party cadre but also in the alliance partners. There is an off-record discussion in the MVA that Sharad Pawar should make his stand clear.
Though the senior leader says he is with the INDIA alliance and will remain in Maha Vikas Aghadi, one wonders how he can deny the split in his own party.
According to some political observers, NCP and its workers were always taught to work out the perfect formula for power but hardly told about ideology. Hence, in the current situation, it’s a straight war between two ideologies — one is pro-BJP and the other is against it.
Sharad Pawar’s NCP is part of both camps but it seems the veteran leader has a solution for this too. He has started campaigning against non-Maratha leaders of the Ajit Pawar faction, which means he wants to give a straight message to that camp that non-Maratha leaders — who used to get Maratha votes because of Sharad Pawar — now can’t use his brand name.
On the other hand, Sharad Pawar has kept the remaining flock with him under the impression that he is with his nephew and anything can happen any moment. Sharad Pawar is known to keep all cards close to his chest and wants people to keep guessing his next move. Though this style has worked for him in politics, now he is in a situation where he has to clear the air on NCP and its factions. According to sources, MVA wants Sharad Pawar to come clean before the next INDIA meeting in Mumbai.
Mayuresh GanapatyeMayuresh Ganapatye, News Editor at News18.com, writes on politics and civic issues, as well as human interests stories. He has been covering Maharasht…Read More