Top party leaders met in Mumbai today amid passionate protests from cadre, including an attempt at self-immolation, and Sharad Pawar’s resignation as leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was rejected by a unanimous vote.
Once more, the 82-year-old told his colleagues that he needed more time to consider whether to remain the leader of the party that he created in 1999.
Supriya Sule, the daughter of Sharad Pawar, and Ajit Pawar, his nephew, were present at the meeting where the panel, chaired by senior party figure Praful Patel, decided to temporarily put a stop to any succession planning. The committee unanimously approved a resolution during today’s meeting. According to the resolution, Sharad Pawar should stay on as national president. Everyone has unanimously disagreed with his decision to resign as president, Praful Patel told reporters.
“We all want Sharad Pawar to remain the party’s leader. He should continue serving as president and respect the sentiments of the millions of us.
In a later statement, he said: “We informed Pawar about the committee decision, and he said he needs some time to think over it.”
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Why was Ajit Pawar leaving the NCP:
There has been intense rumour that Supriya Sule will take over Pawar’s role and that Ajit Pawar will be the “party’s face in Maharashtra” in the three days after Sharad Pawar dropped his surprise at the launch of his memoirs. However, there was no discussion of Ajit Pawar’s specific role, whose reported connection with the BJP was seen to be a contributing factor to Mr. Pawar’s unexpected shift. Many people claimed Mr. Pawar wanted to prevent Ajit Pawar and any potential party division that might result.
The court’s verdict today confirms Mr. Pawar’s leadership of his party and places the initiative back in his hands.
The NCP members who had been pleading with their “Saheb” to retract his resignation since Tuesday set off fireworks and celebrated. Praful Patel also discussed requests made by other political parties for Mr. Pawar to remain as the party leader.
“Everything Mr. Pawar said that day shocked us all. We were unaware that Sharad Pawar would make such an announcement at that Programme. You all witnessed what transpired following his announcement, including how people attempted to communicate their emotions. Sharad Pawar and I continued to meet with him after the Programme, and we again told him that the nation, state, and party want you to continue leading us because no one else can.
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