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Youth, fresh blood needed to rejuvenate NCP: Sharad Pawar

Says freshers can be given 50% tickets in Maha Assembly elections; Ajit Pawar differs with NCP chief on EVMs

mumbai Updated: Jun 11, 2019 09:59 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,NCP,Sharad Pawar
NCP president Sharad Pawar (right) with NCP leader Ajit Pawar at a gathering to celebrate the party’s twentieth anniversary in Mumbai on Monday. (BHUSHAN KOYANDE/HT PHOTO)

Ahead of the Assembly polls, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said new leaders are needed to rejuvenate the party.

He was addressing party workers at a gathering organised in Mumbai to celebrate the 20th anniversary of NCP. “When NCP was formed 20 years ago and came to power, many young leaders were given opportunities. They became ministers and that helped the party’s expansion. The time has come to evaluate how many new faces are there in our organisation,” Pawar said. He went on to say new leaders should be accommodated in the electoral process. “Some 50% fresh faces can be given a chance to contest the coming state Assembly elections,” he said. Senior leaders said the party leadership was braced for some leaders to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the Assembly polls and wanted to pick grassroots leaders to take their place.

Pawar also criticised the BJP over fielding Pragya Thakur from Bhopal constituency from where she won the polls. “We will be seeing a lot of saffron people this time when Parliament begins. One would be from Madhya Pradesh (Thakur). She is facing many serious cases against her, including a bomb blast case.”

Meanwhile, there was a difference of opinion between Pawar and his nephew and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, on the subject of EVMs. Describing EVM manipulation as “an actual problem”, Pawar said there was anger and frustration among people after the Lok Sabha results. “If people realise that the vote they are casting is not going for who they want to elect, then they would keep calm now, but they can take law into their hands in the future,” he said.

In contrast, Ajit Pawar said, “In the Assembly polls held three months back, Congress won in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Similarly, K Chandrashkhar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) triumphed in Telangana Assembly polls. But Rao’s daughter K Kavitha lost the Lok Sabha polls. So how had they won the Assembly polls if EVMs can be manipulated and now on what basis can allegations of manipulation be made?” Openly contradicting Pawar, he said “Blaming only EVMs, we should not reduce our efforts to improve the party’s position.”

First Published: Jun 11, 2019 00:59 IST