Mumbai: Abhi to main jawaan hoon

Akola: Known for his sense of humour, often targeting his own supporters, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar on Wednesday asked some party activists at an event here -"Have I become old?" - leaving the gathering in splits.

His remarks came at an election rally in Balapur for his party candidate Sangram Gawande, where a former legislator and office-bearer, Tukaram Bidkar, described Pawar as a "beloved 80-year old leader", extolling his virtues and his long 55-year plus political career.

When it was the NCP President's turn on the microphone, he said he liked everything about Bidkar's introductory speech, barring one point.

"I am an 80-year old leader....so have I become old?" the 78-year old Pawar raised his eyebrows and demanded in an incredulous tone even as the gathering roared with laughter.

Signalling them to be silent with a flourish of his hand, Pawar continued: 'Abhi to main jawaan hoon' (I am still young). I will first pack off everybody before going home!"

As the audience controlled themselves, Pawar sagely turned his head to the crouching Bidkar on the dais and mockingly requested him not to throw about his age like this - "After all, I am your party president...!"

By QUAID NAJMI

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