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Sharad Pawar Assures NCP Amid Emotional Scenes Over His Shock Resignation

Sharad Pawar Assures NCP Amid Emotional Scenes Over His Shock Resignation


Emotional scenes were witnessed at the event where veteran politician Sharad Pawar made the surprise announcement of his decision to quit as Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president.

Mr Pawar, among the seniormost political figures in the country’s political landscape, made the announcement during the launch of his autobiography at Mumbai this afternoon.

The announcement sparked loud protests by NCP workers and leaders, who demanded that Mr Pawar withdraw his decision and stay on as party chief. Several party leaders, including MLA Jayant Patil, broke down following the surprise announcement, visuals from the venue showed.

Senior leaders Chhagan Bhujbal, Jitendra Awhad and Dilip Walse said they were not ready to accept Mr Pawar’s decision. A group of party workers left the auditorium and started a sit-in outside it where slogans in support of Mr Pawar were raised. 

The 82-year-old politician, visibly overwhelmed, assured party leaders that he was not retiring from public life and urged them to accept his decision. “Let us all work together, but accept my resignation,” he said.

Mr Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar, who has been the talking point in Maharashtra political circles over the past few weeks, and his daughter Supriya Sule were also present at the event.

Following the surprise announcement, Ajit Pawar said that whoever is named the next party chief will work under Mr Pawar’s guidance. He also said that Mr Pawar’s decision needs to be seen in the light of his age and health. “Pawar Saheb has taken a decision and he won’t take it back,” he said. 

When other leaders insisted that Ms Sule, a Lok Sabha MP, urge her father to withdraw the decision, Ajit Pawar asked her not to say anything. 

The veteran politician’s surprise announcement comes against the backdrop of the buzz in Maharashtra political circles that Ajit Pawar is planning to join the BJP. The former deputy president has trashed such claims and accused the media of “spreading rumours without any reason”.

Despite his clarifications, the buzz has sparked a huge round of speculation. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who led the rebellion within Shiv Sena that eventually toppled the Sena-Congress-NCP government, has said that if Ajit Pawar joins BJP, Shiv Sena will not be a part of Maharashtra government.

Announcing his surprise decision, Mr Pawar said, “I cannot forget that Maharashtra and all of you have given me strong support and love in the last six decades. It’s time for a new generation to guide the party and the direction it intends to take. I am recommending that a committee of NCP members should be formed to decide on the election of the vacancy in the president’s post.”

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