Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar sought to play down the recent differences which had arisen between his party and the Congress, saying the two parties would stick together.
“There is no need for concern. Once elections are called you will find the two parties side by side,” Pawar told reporters in Navi Mumbai on Sunday.
A war of words had broken out between state leaders of the Congress and the NCP over decisions taken by both the parties against each other in the recently held urban local body and zilla parishad elections. Things had reached a flashpoint after the Congress decided to break its tie-up in Thane with the NCP and got its own candidate elected as leader of the opposition, even when the latter had a larger number of seats.
This led a miffed NCP state president Madhukar Pichad to state that the Congress needed to decide if it wanted to continue with the alliance. "There is no need to worry. There is no threat to the state government," Pawar said. “These things happened because of local issues and factors. It will have no bearing on the alliance at the state level. As the elections approach, you will see that the two parties are totally united. There are no differences amongst us,” he added.
Pawar also asked the state government to empower women. “When I was chief minister, I made education for girls up to Class 12 absolutely free. The state government should consider taking similar steps for higher education to further encourage education among the girls,” he said.
Stating that the entry of women in politics has made a qualitative difference, Pawar said: “A number of women have joined politics due to the 50% reservation in local bodies. Of course, in many cases there are men behind these women, but the scenario is changing fast and the women are working independently. This is good as they are very efficient and particular about the work they take up.”
Pawar also asked for assimilation of agriculture techniques in education. “In foreign countries, they do not have separate colleges for agriculture. The students are taught the techniques in their regular curriculum and that helps in the long run.” he said.