It was not only Sonia Gandhi’s “foreign origin” but instances of his decisions being overruled and the denial of the Congress Parliamentary Party leader post that prompted Sharad Pawar to form NCP, reveals his autobiography.
“What really took the cake was a shocking amendment to the constitution of the Congress Parliamentary Party which was brought into effect solely to suit Sonia Gandhi. The amendment did away with the condition that the CPP leader had to be an MP,” Pawar says in his book ‘On My Terms – From The Grassroots To The Corridors Of Power’.
“I was deeply hurt by the decision… I was a duly elected member of the Lok Sabha and was therefore a natural claimant to the post of the CPP leader… This unfortunate development put...too great a distance between Sonia Gandhi and me. The situation was aggravated when she overruled many of my decisions in the LS (sic)… When she and I decided something through mutual discussion, she would do exactly the opposite… The drift was to persist for more than a year before reaching breaking point.”
Pawar refers to a political development in 1999 when the Vajpayee government fell on April 17 and Sonia went to meet the then President KR Narayanan on April 21 to stake claim to form the government. She had then announced that “We have 272 and more are coming” but failed to form the government after Mulayam Yadav refused to support the Congress.
“Though I was the party leader in the Lok Sabha, she did not feel it was necessary to consult me before going to the president,” he writes.