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NCP leader Sharad Pawar emerges stronger in Maharashtra polls

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on October 24, 2019

Sharad Pawar speaks in Satara   -  Special Arrangement

Sources close to Sharad Pawar say that the he might offer support to Shiv Sena

Over the last 50 years, Maharashtra's politics has revolved around Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar. At the age of 79, Pawar is once again at the centre of the state's politics.   

Today, as the early trends show, the BJP is struggling to get a majority on its own in Maharashtra Assembly elections even as it can easily form the government with its alliance partner Shiv Sena.  At 10.50 am, BJP is leading in about 100 seats while Sena is leading in 60 seats. The saffron alliance could easily cross the magic figure of 145 in the House of 288 members. Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is leading in 50 while Congress in 38 seats.

Sources close to Sharad Pawar say that the Pawar might offer support to Shiv Sena, which wants to see Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aditya as Maharashtra Chief Minister. NCP sources said that the Congress and NCP leadership might extend support to Sena and joined the government to keep the BJP away from the power.

Sharad Pawar’s grandson Rohit Pawar who is leading from Karjat-Jamkhed seat while speaking to vernacular media said that the new equations might emerge in the State, but the final call will be taken by NCP’s senior leaders.   

Read: Maharashtra Polls: Will Shiv Sena ditch BJP to make Aditya Thackeray CM?

Political pundits are unanimous on declaring Pawar as the 'Man of the Match'. Political observer and scribe Mohan Patil said that Pawar’s grit and fierce campaign across the State left the BJP baffled. “Even as PM Modi, Amit Shah, Fadnavis and many central ministers were campaigning in the State with all force, Pawar single handedly led the opposition without any help from the Congress. His Satara rally was a major boost to NCP and Congress workers,” said Patil.

79-year-old Sharad Pawar, facing various ailments stood drenched on the podium to address his party workers in Satara last week. As heavy showers lashed, the old man roared from the dais refusing to take an umbrella saying that the leader must not cover himself when his party workers are fighting rains. Thousands of party workers present in Satara were in tears, said Patil. The man depicted his grit and determination and the picture went viral on social media.

With his lieutenants including sitting MLAs and his close relatives deserted the party to join BJP and Sena camp, Pawar was probably fighting one of the toughest battle of his political life. Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) move to register a money laundering case against him snowballed into a major political issue and Pawar made it an election agenda and turned the tide on the BJP.    

Interestingly, Chhatrapati Shivaji’s scion Udayanraje Bhosale who had deserted the NCP to join the BJP is trailing in Satara in Lok Sabha by-election. Bhosale was elected as NCP MP from Satara, but he resigned from the post to contest by-election as BJP candidate.  He is trailing by 15,000 votes.

Congress had won 42 seats while the NCP had won 41 seats in the 2014 Assembly polls. The BJP had emerged as the single-largest party in the state with 122 seats while Sena had won 63 seats.

Published on October 24, 2019

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