Sharad Pawar asks supporters to be patient; NCP panel to meet today | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Sharad Pawar asks supporters to be patient; NCP panel to meet today

By, Mumbai
May 04, 2023 11:54 PM IST

An NCP committee will meet on Friday, ostensibly to decide on the next party chief as veteran leader Sharad Pawar on Thursday appeared to stand by his decision to resign.

A committee of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will meet on Friday, ostensibly to decide on the next party chief as veteran leader Sharad Pawar on Thursday appeared to stand by his decision to resign despite requests by party leaders and workers to remain in the post, party functionaries said.

NCP leader Sharad Pawar. (ANI)
NCP leader Sharad Pawar. (ANI)

Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule, who is a Member of Parliament (MP) from Baramati, is considered to be the front-runner to replace him, according to people aware of the matter.

On Thursday, after holding informal meetings with party legislators and colleagues for a second consecutive day amid protests demanding withdrawal of his resignation, Pawar told supporters that he took the decision for the future of the party

“I respect your sentiments. I should have discussed my plans with all of you and taken you into confidence. But I know you wouldn’t have allowed me to take the decision,” he said.

The 82-year-old veteran leader also visited his office at 10am and interacted with party leaders.

He was again asked to reconsider his decision. While leaving for the day, he told party workers that they will not have to hold their protests after two days. The protest was called off after that.

“Pawar saheb has taken the decision. He still stands by his decision for now. However, people from all over Maharashtra and other places are requesting him to take back his decision,” Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil told reporters. “As the Maharashtra (NCP) president, I am worried about the next elections. I believe that if Pawar saheb continues in the post, there will be justice for all,” he added.

Pawar, one of India’s tallest and senior-most political leaders, on Tuesday announced his decision to step down as NCP chief. The development came amid swirling rumours about a section of party leaders breaking away to ally with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra.

Pawar’s announcement, made at the Mumbai launch of his autobiography Lok Mazhe Sangati, left his party reeling, with many senior leaders breaking down as others clambering onto the dais entreating him not to quit. Such was the pressure mounted on him through the day that he finally asked for another two to three days to consider his decision “more deeply”. He also announced the setting up of a committee which would decide who the next NCP president should be.

“Pawar saheb wants his successor to be named in a democratic way,” Patil said.

The committee, comprising 18 members, is likely to consider the demand that Pawar withdraw his resignation, a senior party functionary said on condition of anonymity. “The committee could come up with a proposal urging Pawar to continue as national president and appoint a working president to assist him – it could be Sule or another senior leader,” the functionary said.

As party leaders and workers continued with their protests, Sule said: “Please stop this… Pawar saheb is really hurt with all this, I request you to stop the protest.”

On Tuesday, Pawar’s nephew and the man widely believed to have prompted his uncle’s drastic move, Ajit Pawar, had requested NCP MLAs and office-bearers to stop bombarding his uncle with their own resignations. Ajit Pawar, who only last week took a dig at Sharad Pawar’s advancing years, was the only prominent leader who supported the latter’s decision to step down.

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