Sharad Pawar, the chief of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), expressed his willingness to welcome back the rebel faction led by his nephew, Ajit Pawar. In a press conference on Saturday, he stated that if the rebel leaders reconsidered their decision and returned to the party, he would have no objections. However, Pawar acknowledged that these leaders were no longer political novices and had gained significant influence within the party.
Pawar Speaks On Ajit's Claims On Discussions Within Party
Sharad Pawar addressed Ajit Pawar's claims that discussions had taken place within the NCP regarding an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He clarified that while discussions occur regularly, the decision to align with the saffron party had never been made. Pawar emphasized that discussions should not be misconstrued as final decisions.
Pawar's Openness to Reconciliation
When asked about appealing to Ajit Pawar and the rebel leaders to return, Sharad Pawar stated that he would not escalate tensions and that he had no issue if they reconsidered their choices. He referred to a Marathi poem to highlight the leaders' growth and influence within the party.
About The Party Split
The NCP experienced a split when Ajit Pawar rebelled against his uncle and joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra as deputy chief minister. The rebel faction, including senior party leaders and MLAs, sided with Ajit Pawar. Sharad Pawar expressed hope that the rebel group would refrain from claiming the NCP's properties, as clashes had already occurred in some places over party offices.
Addressing Organisational Criticisms
Regarding rebel leader Praful Patel's criticism of the party's organisational structure, Sharad Pawar pointed out Patel's tenure as an MP and Union minister for ten years. Pawar emphasized the need to rebuild the party and chose Nashik as his first stop on a statewide tour. He mentioned the historical significance of Nashik, including Yashwantrao Chavan's election after being invited by Jawaharlal Nehru to join the Union cabinet as defense minister.
Pawar Speaks On Bhujbal's Loyalty
When questioned about Chhagan Bhujbal switching his loyalty to the Ajit Pawar camp, Sharad Pawar expressed regret and acknowledged that he failed to assess the situation accurately. He clarified that he did not blame Bhujbal, who had joined the NCP after leaving the Shiv Sena and later the Congress. Pawar also apologised to the public during a public rally in Yeola, the constituency of breakaway leader Chhagan Bhubal, for "fielding the wrong candidate" in the past.
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