NCP supremo Sharad Pawar is credited for bringing the Congress and Shiv Sena on the same page to form a government in Maharashtra after Sena parted ways with the BJP.
Sharad Pawar has said that the coming together of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress with the Shiv Sena to form government in Maharashtra was “not an accident”. Pawar heads the NCP and had served in the previous Congress-led UPA governments. He is credited for bringing the Congress and Shiv Sena on the same page to form a government in Maharashtra after Sena parted ways with the BJP.
Replying to a question during an interview to Saamana, the mouthpiece of Shiv Sena, Sharad Pawar said the change of government in Maharashtra was not an accident after the Assembly elections in November last year that saw then ruling BJP-Shiv Sena gaining a comfortable majority in the 288-member Legislative Assembly.
“People of the state voted in line of the sentiment prevailing in the country during the national elections. But the mood changed during the assembly polls. Even though BJP did well in the Lok Sabha polls, it fared poorly in assembly elections in different states. Even people of Maharashtra voted for a change,” he said.
The first of the three-part interview series of Pawar was published in the Marathi daily on Saturday. This is for the first time that a non-Shiv Sena leader has featured in a marathon interview series in the Saamana.
Pawar is credited with bringing together the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP for formation of government in the state last November. The Shiv Sena and BJP contested the Assembly elections together and secured a comfortable win. But the alliance couldn’t form the government due to the Shiv Sena’s demand of the chief minister’s post for two-and-a-half years. The Shiv Sena then parted ways with the BJP and sided with then arch rivals Congress and NCP to form the government. The Congress and NCP agreed to support Uddhav Thackeray’s candidature for the top job.
Pawar also spoke about the media reports claiming differences among the Maha Vikas Aghadi constituents. He sarcastically remarked that the news gathering activity had been hit by the coronavirus and they had the “responsibility to fill the pages of newspapers”.
“I have been reading reports of growing differences among the three allies, but there is not an iota of truth in that,” he said.
Replying to a query over his reported differences with CM Uddhav Thackeray on the lockdown in the state, Pawar said, “Absolutely not. What differences? For what? During the entire period of lockdown, I have had excellent communication with the chief minister and continue to do so.”
“Today, the government is not because of ideology. But the responsibility of implementing that power now lies with Uddhav Thackeray,” the NCP supremo added.
Pawar also took a swipe at the opposition BJP saying politicians should not take voters for granted as even powerful leaders like Indira Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had been defeated in elections.
Criticising former CM Devendra Fadnavis over his “Mi punha yein (I will come back)” refrain during polls, Pawar said that voters thought that this stance smacked of arrogance and felt that they should be taught a lesson.
“In a democracy, you cannot think that you will remain in power eternally. Voters will not tolerate if they are taken for granted. Powerful leaders with mass base with like Indira Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had been defeated. It means that in terms of the democratic rights, the common man is wiser than the politicians. If we politicians cross the line, he teaches us a lesson. Therefore, people do not like the stand that ‘we will come back to power’,” he said.