Mumbai: In an abrupt U-turn, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday announced that he will not be contesting the ensuing Lok Sabha election. This is quite contrary to the indication he had given last month.
Technically, Pawar is already a Rajya Sabha member and his term will end on April 2, 2020. So, he can remain an MP for another one year, irrespective of whether he contests or not. If need be, he can also secure one more term in the Rajya Sabha.
Moreover, Pawar deciding not to contest makes no difference as far as his role as a ‘sutradhaar’ in the Opposition unity efforts is concerned. It will not surprise anyone if he still stakes claim, as one of the senior-most leaders in the Opposition, to the prime minister’s post, if the situation so warrants. He had lost the post in 1991 to the late P V Narasimha Rao.
The NCP leader gave the impression on Monday that he was essentially paving the way for his grandson Parth Pawar – son of senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar – who is to contest from the crucial Maval seat in Pune district. He also reasoned that it is not appropriate for three members of a family to simultaneously contest the polls – daughter Supriya Sule is contesting from Baramati.
Political observers also say that when Pawar declared last month that he has decided to contest, the political climate was very different from what it is now. Thanks to the Balakot air strike the entire political narrative has changed. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, mocking at Pawar’s decision, said that the latter knows which way the wind is blowing. No wonder, he has withdrawn from the poll fray.