This is not the first time that activist Anna Hazare has taken Maharashtra’s most powerful politician and NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s case.
The tussle between the two has been on since 1990, when Pawar returned to power after winning the assembly elections with a slender margin. In the early 1990s, Hazare started his first state-wide agitation targeting corruption in the state forest department. Pawar was not directly targeted by Hazare in the beginning.
But when he returned to the state as CM in 1993 after a stint with the Centre, Hazare started attacking him directly on corruption. This was also the time a Mumbai municipal officer, GR Khairnar, was publicly targeting Pawar, accusing him of links to the underworld.
The Shiv Sena-BJP combine had also launched a campaign against Pawar over Enron’s power project.
Enron, Khairnar and Hazare played a major role in forming public opinion against Pawar and the government led by him. It helped the saffron combine to win power in the 1995 elections. The Sena-BJP too had were on the receiving end of Hazare’s wrath and had to drop three ministers on the charges of corruption.
Hazare again started his campaign against Pawar after the Congress-NCP government came to power in 1999. In 2003, around poll time, Hazare trained his guns on four allegedly corrupt NCP ministers.
The allegations shook up the NCP and Pawar was subsequently forced to drop ministers like Suresh Jain, Nawab Malik and Vijay Gavit. At Jain's instance, the government also asked the commission to probe allegations of irregularities in the trusts run by Hazare.
Again in 2009 when the state went to poll, Hazare raised corruption charges against Pawar.