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NCP deliberates on road ahead after Pawar’s decision to step down; Bhujbal says Supriya Sule ideal for ‘national role’

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A day after Sharad Pawar announced his decision to step down as NCP president, senior party leaders held a discussion here on Wednesday on the road ahead, even as Chhagan Bhujbal said Pawar’s daughter and Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule was ideal for a “national role”.

An NCP worker from Pune wrote a letter in blood, appealing to Pawar to withdraw his decision and not make him and several other party workers “orphan”.

Pawar was present at the Yashwantrao Chavan Centre in Mumbai where the NCP leaders held the discussion informally, but he did not attend the meet.

Before the discussion, Bhujbal told reporters he was of the view that Supriya Sule was ideal for a “national role” as she has a good grasp of issues.

“She has been doing well as a parliamentarian. So there will be no problem on deciding the new (NCP) president. Ajit Pawar should handle the responsibility of the state (Maharashtra). The division of work is already there,” he said.

Pawar (82) on Tuesday dropped a bombshell by saying he is stepping down as chief of the NCP which he founded and helmed since 1999, but not retiring from public life.

The announcement, made at an event, stumped leaders and workers of the 24-year-old party, and many were seen crying and pleading with the Maratha strongman to reconsider his decision.

Ajit Pawar later on Tuesday announced his uncle will need two to three days to “think over” his decision.

Bhujbal on Wednesday said Pawar’s announcement to step down as the NCP chief came as a shock to everyone..

“We will persuade him to withdraw his decision,” he said.

After the meeting of NCP leaders, Bhujbal said there was no meeting as such of a committee, formed by Sharad Pawar to decide on his successor.

“Since we were in Mumbai, we met informally to discuss how to persuade Pawar saheb to withdraw his resignation,” he said.

“What I spoke in the morning (with reference to Supriya Sule) is my personal view,” Bhujbal said.

Meanwhile, Sandip Kale, an NCP worker from Pune who also operates an auto-rickshaw, in a letter addressed to Sharad Pawar claimed he is “God” (daivat) to the common party workers like him and wondered whom they will look up to after him.

He appealed to Sharad Pawar not to make him and several other party workers “orphan” and requested him to withdraw his decision.

“I have been running an auto-rickshaw for the last ten years and am a party worker for several years. I did not like the decision taken by saheb and to convey my feelings, I penned a letter in my own blood and sent it to him,” he told PTI.

Another NCP leader Jitendra Awhad claimed Sharad Pawar was “Bhishma Pitamah” (a character from Mahabharata) of the political and social movements in the state.

“His energy gives us strength,” an emotional Awhad told reporters, adding that he has resigned as the NCP’s national general secretary and the party workers from Thane have also resigned en masse.

Maharashtra needs Sharad Pawar. His withdrawal from “active politics” is a big loss for the state which is suffering in the fields of culture, economy, industry and politics, he said.

In order to stop this loss, Sharad Pawar has been requested to withdraw his resignation, Awhad said.

A storm is currently raging in the state and Sharad Pawar’s support is needed to fight such a situation, he added..

NCP spokesman Mahesh Tapase told reporters that party workers wanted Sharad Pawar to continue as the political outfit’s national president.


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