Sharad Pawar turns the tables on ED...

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on September 28, 2019 Published on September 28, 2019

BJP has scored a self-goal as the NCP chief has become the face of Opposition in Maharashtra ahead of polls, say experts

The Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) move has given a new lease of life to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) as its chief Sharad Pawar succeeded in cashing in on the wave of sympathy from supporters. In various cities and towns in Maharashtra, bandh (shutdown) was organised to denounce the ED’s action involving him in an alleged scam.

Political pundits said that the BJP has scored a self-goal ahead of State polls by giving Pawar an opportunity to become the face of the opposition in Maharashtra.

The ED has registered a case purportedly involving Pawar and about 70 former functionaries of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) as part of a probe into an alleged ₹25,000-crore scam.

Pawar had announced that he would visit the ED office in Mumbai on Friday to make himself available to the agency.

However, after the State police requested him to not to go ahead with the plan, to avoid possible law and order problems, Pawar cancelled his visit.

Political analyst Suhas Kulkarni said that the entire episode might boomerang on the BJP if people build a perception that Pawar was left alone to fight the battle with his lieutenants joining the ruling alliance.

“This episode has proven that Pawar is a veteran politician who knows how to deal with the situation,” said Kulkarni. He said that one has to understand Pawar’s image among masses rather than going by the image built by the media. The support not only poured in from the masses, but also from the NCP’s alliance partner Congress and the opposition Shiv Sena. Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Sharad Pawar Ji is the latest Opposition leader to be targeted by a vindictive government. The timing of this action, a month before elections in Maharashtra, reeks of political opportunism.”

Till then, no State Congress leader had come out in open support of Pawar. But after Rahul’s tweet, his satraps were left with no other option than to rally behind the Maratha strongman.

Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut told a news channel that ED’s move has “awakened” NCP workers from slumber and the inactive party has got a new lease of life ahead of polls. Raut said that despite political differences with Pawar, one has to admit that he is one of the tallest leaders in the country and the State.

Anna Hazare pitches in

Social activist and Pawar’s bete noire Anna Hazare told media that when the alleged multi-crore MSCB scam case came to him, Pawar was not in the picture.

Hazare said that he was not aware from where his name got involved in the case.

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Published on September 28, 2019
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