The Congress on Tuesday said NCP leader Sharad Pawar’s decision to step down as the party chief is an internal matter and it would not be proper for it to interfere in it.
“This is their internal matter. He (Pawar) is a very respectable political leader of the country. He has respect among all parties. It is not proper that we interfere in the internal decision of their party,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, replying to a reporter’s question at a press conference here.
Springing a surprise, Pawar on Tuesday said he is stepping down as the chief of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the political outfit he founded and helmed since 1999.
The former Union minister made the announcement at the launch of a revised version of his autobiography. His announcement was met with protests by NCP workers and leaders, who asked the octogenarian leader to rescind the decision.
His former associate and senior Congress leader Tariq Anwar said Pawar must have a plan for the future.
Anwar, who was a co-founder of the NCP along with Pawar, said the veteran leader does not take any decision without thinking it through.
Asked about Pawar’s decision, Anwar told PTI it is his “personal decision” and every politician has a right to take his own decisions.
“What the internal matter is we do not know, but as far as I know Sharad Pawar, he does not take any decision without thinking it through. He is a tall leader and if he has resigned from the post, he would have a plan for the future. It depends on him what is to be done,” the Congress general secretary said.
Asked about Pawar’s contributions, Anwar said, “He has played a prominent role in the country’s politics. He has had a role as an opposition voice and today also, he is working for opposition unity and calling for opposition unity.” In 1999, Anwar, along with Pawar and P A Sangma, founded the NCP after they were expelled from the Congress, about a year after Sonia Gandhi was elected as the party president on March 14, 1998.
Anwar was taken back into the grand old party in 2018. He is the Congress general secretary in-charge of Kerala and Lakshadweep.
Another Congress leader, Rashid Alvi, said, “Sharad Pawar is a senior and respected leader. This is an internal matter of his party, but he will continue to play an important role in the opposition.” “I am hopeful and confident that he will continue to work for uniting the opposition,” Alvi, a former Congress spokesperson, added.