Forget and forgive? Very unlikely!
Over the years, Pawar has exhibited the patience of an elephant in getting even with his tormentors and I base this conviction on the age-old rivalry between Pawar and Vikhe Patils.Updated: Nov 13, 2019, 00:27 IST
Amid the uncertainty over the formation of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Maharashtra, I begin to be concerned about leaders like Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Shivendraraje Bhosale who quit the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to join the BJP.
They might now be worried at NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s possible return to power and how quickly they were willing to consign him to oblivion. For Pawar never fails to forget a slight and gets his back on those who have crossed him in ways that might prove unsavoury to those who stabbed him in the back.
The only election Pawar lost in his life was when he first contested for the post of president to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) under the reign of Jagmohan Dalmiya in 2000. He lost by just one vote and blamed one board member, a prominent Nashik vintner close to him, for conspiring with Dalmiya to reach the polling booth in Calcutta beyond the scheduled closing time.
He had chosen to take a train rather than fly and put down his latecoming to the delay in the arrival of the train. But Pawar was not convinced. When the vintner got embroiled in a banking scam, he found no reprieve. Others involved in the same scam got bail, the vintner didn’t. A lot of Congressmen are convinced that had Pawar been more forgiving, the authorities might have been more considerate.
Over the years, Pawar has exhibited the patience of an elephant in getting even with his tormentors and I base this conviction on the age-old rivalry between Pawar and Vikhe Patils which lies in an incident from the time Pawar was in school and had led a morcha to the gates of the first-ever sugar factory set up by Radhakrishna’s grandfather Vithalrao in Pravaranagar.
Pawar wanted the factory to shut down for a day in order to support the Goa liberation movement, but Vithalrao refused and shooed him away from the gates. Pawar never forgot that slight and has ever since been trying to get the upper hand over Ahmednagar politics, but not succeeding – the Vikhe Patils elude him by changing parties whenever he is in power and have a strong enough business empire not to fall prey to political machinations against them.
But I cannot say the same about those like Shivendra Bhosale, first cousin of Udayanraje Bhosale, both direct descendants of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. For that reason Pawar wanted to keep them together - they were earlier feuding for political prominence in Satara. Pawar later brokered a reconciliation between them and kept them out of each other’s hair by having one elected to the Lok Sabha and the other to the Assembly.
Both have now betrayed Pawar by joining the BJP. Pawar managed to defeat Udayan during the bypoll, but Shivendra won his assembly seat on a BJP ticket. However, this is unlikely to be the end of the story. Pawar never forgets or forgives.