In a massive development, political heavyweight Sharad Pawar on Tuesday announced resignation from the position of the President of Nationalist Congress Party. He announced the same at an event in Yashwantrao Chavan Foundation centre in the city.
The 82-year-old politician, however, said that he won’t retire from active politics. He also said that NCP working committee will decide on the next party chief.
The decision comes amid Ajit Pawar’s political ambitions that have caused rift between him and Sharad Pawar, even as uncertainty looms over whether the latter would pass his political legacy and baton of the party to him, or his daughter Supriya Sule, a parliamentarian from Baramati.
Amid speculations of joining the BJP, Ajit Pawar attended a rally of MVA in Mumbai on Sunday and slammed the Shidne-Fadnavis goverment, blaming it for the collapse of the law and order and state’s poor financial condition.
Supporters of NCP chief Sharad Pawar expressed their disappointment by protest at the venue where he took the decision.
Sharad Pawar in his speech stated that his political career began with formation of Maharashtra on May 1, 1960. He recounted his journey from being a ember of Pune City Youth Congress to eventually becoming a part of Maharashtra Youth Organisation functionary and shifting to Mumbai. He further recounted various milestones he achieved in his career until now.
Pawar in his speech said, “Since the formation of the Nationalist Congress Party in 1999, I have had the privilege of being elected as its President, which today is in its 24th year.”
“This entire journey of being in public life, which began on May 1, 1960, has continued unabated for the past 63 years, having served Maharashtra and India in various capacities during this period. I have three years left of Rajya Sabha membership in Parliament, during which I will focus on issues related to Maharashtra and India, with a caveat of not taking any responsibility,” he added.
He further mentioned, “After a long period of public life from May 1, 1960, to May 1, 2023, it is necessary to take a step back. Hence, I have decided to step down as President of the Nationalist Congress Party. However, I intend to do more in the fields of education, agriculture, cooperation, sports and culture, amongst others. I will also pay attention issues related to the Youth, Students, workers, Dalit’s, Tribal’s and other weaker sections of the society.”
“I cannot forget that Maharashtra and all of you have given me strong support and love in the last 6 decades. It’s time for a new generation to guide the party and the direction it intends to take. I am recommending that a committee of NCP members should be formed to decide on the election of the vacancy in the President’s post,” he said.
Pawar has requested the committee that will elect the next president have following members: Mr Praful Patel, Shri, Sunil Tatkare, Shri. K.K. Sharma, Shri. PC. Chacko, Mr Ajit Pawar, Shri. Jayant Patil, Smt. Supriya Sule, Shri. Chhagan Bhujbal, Shri. Dilip Walse Patil, Shri. Anil Deshmukh, Mr Rajesh Tope, Mr Jitendra Awhad, Shri. Hasan Mushrif, Mr Dhananjay Munde, Shri. Jaydev Gaikwad and Ex-officio Member: Mrs Fauzia Khan, President, Nationalist Mahila Congress. Shri. Dheeraj Sharma, President, Nationalist Youth Congress; Sonia Duhan, President, Nationalist Youth Congress and Nationalist Students’ Congress.
He said, “This committee will decide on the president’s selection. It will continue to strive for the growth of the party organization, to take the ideology and goals of the party to the people, and to serve the people, as they deem fit.”
Sharad Pawar said, “My colleagues, even though I am stepping down from the post of president, I am not retiring from public life. ‘Constant travel’ has become an integral part of my life. I will continue attending public events, meetings. Whether I am in Pune, Mumbai, Baramati, Delhi or any other part of India, I will be available to all of you as usual. I will continue to work round the clock to solve the people’s problems.
“The love and trust of the people is my breath. There will be no separation from me or public retirement. I was with you; I am and will always be there till my last breath! So we’ll keep meeting.”
The committee’s decision will be accepted by him [Sharad Pawar], says Ajit Pawar, a senior NCP leader and his nephew.