New Delhi: After the high-voltage revolt by his nephew Ajit Pawar, the NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar has once again proved he is the old warhorse and a strong Maratha man. Within three days of the revolt, he not only managed to keep his flock together but succeeded in getting Ajit resigned, causing the fall of the 4-day old Fadnavis government.
Almost all MLAs of the NCP have returned to Pawar fold leaving Ajit Pawar isolated.
Sharad Pawar said, throwing a challenge to the BJP, that "Maharashtra is not Goa, Manipur or Arunachal Pradesh or Karnataka".
Sharad Pawar, who first became chief minister at the age of 38, four decades ago, is still at the centre of Maharashtra politics. He has been the chief minister thrice and Union minister many times. He last demitted office in 2014 when the UPA lost the mandate. Since then the NCP was a marginal player both at the Centre and in the state.
But after October 24, 2019 assembly results, Sharad Pawar has been at the centerstage, from meeting Shiv Sena leaders mid way on road to meeting Uddhav Thackeray in hotel Trident -- all political activity was monitored by him.
In Delhi, he met Sonia Gandhi twice to take her consent in the government formation. His house 6, Janpath in Lutyens' Delhi has been at the centre of hectic political activity for the last few days on the formation of new Maharashtra government.
When the common minimum programme was discussed in Delhi, the focus shifted to Pawar's residence Silver Oak at Mumbai from where he anchored the activities bringing once-foe Sena together to stitch the most difficult alliance.
He was the first to announce on Friday that Uddhav Thackeray will be the new CM of Maharashtra, but on Saturday, his nephew rebelled to join hands with the BJP, a shock from which he recovered quickly and used all his resources to quell the rebellion, party leader Nawab Malik said.
During the elections also, many leaders left the NCP, including close aide Ganesh Naik, but the 79-year old Maratha leader campaigned vigorously.
During the Assembly polls in October, Pawar once stood drenched on the podium to address party workers in heavy rain in Satara. He refused to take an umbrella saying he cannot do it as his party workers are also braving the rain. The 40-minute speech in Satara led to the defeat of the descendant of Shivaji Mahraj, Udyan Raje Bhonsle, who had switched from the NCP to the BJP just ahead of elections.
When Pawar's name came up in the ED investigation in a money laundering case, he made it an election agenda and turned the tide against the BJP, saying "a Maratha never bows to Delhi."
He decided to visit the ED office without even a notice. He said even Shivaji, the great Maratha ruler, never bowed to the rulers of Delhi.