Mumbai: On a day when Nitish Kumar dumped the BJP and took the oath for the eighth time as Bihar chief minister, NCP chief Sharad Pawar accused the BJP of gradually finishing off its regional allies. At the forefront to mobilise non-BJP parties ahead of the 2024 general election, Pawar supported Nitish’s decision and congratulated him and his deputy Tejasjwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
Pawar said, “No matter how much BJP leaders criticise Nitish Kumar, he has taken a wise step. He took the decision anticipating the crisis the BJP was planning to bring on.”
Responding to BJP national president JP Nadda’s recent statement that the BJP will survive while others ruled by families will finish, Pawar said, “From this statement, one thing is clear, which was also the complaint of Nitish Kumar, that the BJP finishes off its allies gradually.” Citing an example, he said a party like the Akali Dal was with them (BJP). “Its leader Prakash Singh Badal was with them, but today the party is nearly finished in Punjab,” he added.
Pawar said it’s BJP’s attribute to join hands with a regional party at the time of elections, and then ensure that the ally wins fewer seats. “It happened in Maharashtra, too. When a similar picture was being witnessed in Bihar, the CM of the state got cautious well in advance and took a wise decision,” he said, adding that in Maharashtra, the BJP planned to weaken the Shiv Sena with the help of Shinde.
On the two Shiv Sena factions staking claim over the party’s symbol, Pawar criticised the Shinde-led rebel group, saying that the ‘bow and arrow’ belong to the Shiv Sena founded by Bal Thackeray, and it is “not right to snatch” the symbol from it. He recalled that when he had differences with the Congress, he formed a separate party, the NCP, with the 'clock' as the poll symbol. “We didn’t ask for their (Congress party’s) poll symbol and didn’t create any row,” Pawar said.
He said, “The symbol is rooted in the minds of the people of Maharashtra. If Shinde, or others, want to take a different stand, they can definitely form their own party and have their own symbol.” Without naming Shinde, Pawar said if he takes the stand of fuelling the controversy, the people will not support him.