NCP Sharad Pawar quits, who next ?
This is what I call Breaking news! On the occasion of his own book inauguration, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar today quit as party head. After the announcement of this, the day was filled with various news cropping up from every corner as to if ‘Saheb’ will take back his decision, and if it is a NO, then who will win the race to grab the top spot of the NCP party? Will it be daughter and natural choice, MP Supriya Sule, or will it be the firebrand Ajit Pawar or will it be party loyalist Praful Patel or a Jayant Patil, only time will tell. But as of today, NCP Supremo is in no mood to reverse his decision even after hearing ‘crying plea’s’ from his senior party men. He has deferred the decision to rethink this one for a couple of days!
“Vikrant, the first sentence itself sent shivers down my spine when Pawar Saheb began his speech at his book inauguration. When he began, I started my career on May 1st, 1960 and it was enough for me to guess Pawar Saheb is going to announce something really big” claims a senior party member and a very close associate of the family. Even I echoed the same as the daughter of Pawar, Supriya Sule, had tweeted a few days back that in the next 15 days there will be dhamaaka on the political front in Maharashtra and then in Delhi. This wasn’t Dhamaka Supriya Tai (as you are fondly called), this was an atom bomb on Maharashtra. Although Pawar hasn’t quit active politics, more or less it is enough for all of us to guess, he will be merely fulfilling his job as a Rajya Sabha Member for the next 3 years before hanging his boots permanently from politics. And mind you NOW, he will be at the luxury to say, “I will go with what the Party President says”.
Now that Pawar, which we assume has taken this decision to not take back, who is the next best choice to lead the party? Is it MP Supriya Sule, daughter and natural successor who will win the race or will be it nephew Ajit Pawar? Now if Supriya Sule is the choice, it will be purely because of her relations with everyone at the Centre and state-wise throughout the country. But now that the ‘national party’ status has long gone for the NCP, the party can also vote for a face who is much experienced, ruthless and a better administrator, Ajit Pawar! He has that reach in Maharashtra and everyone in the party knows, he will bring results. But you can never rule out to keep both cousins away from in-fighting and as a surprise, it can also be a Jayant PAtil or a Praful Patel! But then, will Ajit Pawar and his ‘gang’ stay in the NCP fold if any other person becomes the chief? I don’t think so and with a blink of an eye he will do the unimaginable, which Senior Pawar fears the most, and that will completely break the party. Ajit Pawar just does not believe in becoming a second fiddle to anyone except Saheb. And mind you, Supriya Sule to win any election needs the support of Ajit Pawar and not vice-versa. Many have forgotten this. Also one more thing that remains true is– Ajit Pawar will never go against wishes of his uncle, such is their family strong ties.
On a second thought, what if Sharad Pawar rethinks this decision of his? Afterall, he has asked for a time of 2 to 3 days to rethink right? My personal view says he won’t. His entire life Pawar has been on an edge to wipe out his image of ‘reversing his decision at the last minute’. He has tried to change that image and we have seen that when he stood by Uddhav Thackeray during the formation of MVA and that’s what compels me to think that he will stick to this decision too. By the way, that family friend and closest source of mine in NCP says, Vikrant, today was a day of good optics for many ‘crying’ NCP leaders. It was their time to earn their brownie points. In reality if there was someone who behaved maturely and controlled his/her emotions it was Supriya Sule and Ajit PAwar, I mean even if they did not show their emotions, they are worst hit by this decision of the patriarch. And to conclude, believe me if it is Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule and few closest ones to Saheb are shattered with this decision of his to quit the party post, two more people are cursing their luck in these times. Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray and Sanjay Raut. Sharad Pawar is a father figure to both of them. The command or man-management and covering up mistakes which Sharad Anwar did for Uddhav Thackeray and Raut for the past few years at the Centre, I don’t think anyone would have. 2024 will be very interesting.
But in all, my respect and my head bows to the service Sharad Pawar has given our state, let alone the controversies this time! No one can come close to him in his party for eons to come.
Vikrant Hemant Joshi.
PS: I loved the body-langauge of Ajit Pawar today on TV.