Sharad Pawar, Nitin Gadkari at Narayan Rane’s book release

Mumbai: "Was joining the Congress a blunder?" was the poser by one erstwhile CM of Maharashtra to another on Friday.

Sharad Pawar, the chief of the Nationalist Congress Party, asked Narayan Rane, chief of the Maharashtra Swabhimaan Paksh, this at an event to mark the release of the latter's biography in Marathi and English.

Pawar's question was an indirect criticism of the Congress and a reminder to Rane that he had blundered. The question elicited much applause from the audience. Rane had pointedly not invited any Congress leader to the event.

The NCP president was one of the chief guests at the function to mark the book release The Marathi version of the biography is titled 'Zanzawat', while the English vesrion is called 'No Holds Barred'.

“When Rane decided to leave the Shiv Sena, he was confused whether to join the Congress or the Nationalist Congress Party. The way he decided was by writing the names of both parties on separate slips of paper.

Then it was a toss-up. He picked up the one which said Congress. Whether it was a blunder or not is his call, ” Pawar said, even as he extolled Rane's leadership abilities.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who too was one of the chief guests, shared his memories of the period when Rane was in the process of leaving the Shiv Sena.

“In those days, I met him daily, persuading him not to leave the Sena. I told him his decision to join the Congress and part ways with Hindutva was wrong. Had he been in the Shiv Sena, politics today would have been different,” Gadkari stressed.

Speaking at a function at which BJP leaders were in attendance, Pawar taunted them saying that no one sits permanently on the opposition benches. His statement was significant in the backdrop of constant desertions from his party.

“When we are in the opposition, we get an opportunity to reassess decisions we took while in power. If we do good work, people do not forget us and they give us a chance,” Pawar said.

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