Sharad Pawar, a prominent politician from Maharashtra, made a shocking announcement today when he resigned as the leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), reigniting rumours that his nephew Ajit Pawar was leaning more and more towards the BJP.
In a surprise announcement at the launch of his autobiography in Mumbai, 82-year-old Sharad Pawar, who has been vital in uniting opposition parties ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, said, “After a long period of public life from May 1, 1960, to May 1, 2023, it is necessary to take a step back.”
“The party needs a new generation to lead it,” He declared that he was not leaving public life and that he “recommends that a committee of NCP members decide on the election of President’s post.”
The unexpected declaration was made by the four-time chief minister of Maharashtra while his nephew Ajit Pawar stood by his side. NCP leaders and workers protested his decision, several of whom were seen crying.A group of top party officials was also announced by Mr. Pawar to plan the future.
“I’m not leaving the public life. There won’t be a split from me or a retirement from the public life I was with you; I am; and, until my last breath, I will always be there”, he assured.
Party members and leaders pleaded with Mr. Pawar to reverse his decision and begged to stay until he did so. Praful Patel, a prominent NCP figure and Rajya Sabha member, claimed Sharad Pawar did not consult with anyone before announcing his resignation.
Ajit Pawar’s statement that the “next president of NCP will work under Sharad Pawar’s guidance” gave rise to rumours that he might succeed Sharad Pawar.
“Pawar Saheb himself had mentioned the need for a guard change a few days prior. Considering his old age and state of health, we should consider his choice. Everyone must make decisions according to the circumstances; Pawar Saheb has made a choice and won’t change his mind, stated Ajit Pawar.
Ajit Pawar further stated that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) protest prevented his uncle from making his resignation announcement on May 1 (Monday), as planned.
Ajit Pawar, a former deputy chief minister, has been warming up to the BJP, prompting a lot of speculation about Mr Pawar’s significant move.
Ajit Pawar missing a meeting of his party’s Mumbai unit last month sparked the most talk about him switching sides. He stated he was unable to attend the NCP conference owing to other commitments. The NCP would employ him “as long as I’m alive,” he added.
Following Sharad Pawar’s unexpected action, many predicted that it would open the door for an Ajit Pawar-led NCP to align itself with the BJP.