- Sharad Pawar stays on as the party chief of NCP in Maharashtra.
- Ajit Pawar's open support for Sharad Pawar's resignation was not endorsed by the party.
- The episode highlights the power struggle and behind-the-scenes maneuvering in politics.
In a recent turn of events, Sharad Govindrao Pawar, the strongman of Maharashtra, has emerged victorious in Round One of his political battle. The high-level committee of his Nationalist Congress Party unanimously rejected his resignation as party chief, and Pawar has agreed to stay on. The party, including his nephew Ajit Pawar, endorsed his leadership, in what became a referendum on his authority. No one in the party was prepared to step into his shoes as the party's national president, and hence Pawar agreed to continue in his position.
The last few days have witnessed an intense drama with choked voices, flowing tears, angry diatribes, dharnas, and protests, which would put the best of Bollywood actors in the shade. However, for the moment, the drama seems to have reined in Ajit Pawar. He was not present at the press conference addressed by Sharad Pawar, where he withdrew his resignation. The party has promised to revitalize the Maharashtra unit of the NCP, which may give Ajit Pawar a say in its affairs.
Ajit Pawar was the only one who openly spoke in favor of accepting Pawar's resignation, stating that his age and health must be respected by the party, and he should be allowed to step down. However, the rest of the party endorsed Sharad Pawar's leadership.
Things came to a head a few weeks ago with signs of the Enforcement Directorate closing in on Ajit Pawar. It was an open secret that Ajit Pawar was contemplating joining the BJP government in Maharashtra, with a section of NCP MLAs willing to move with him, with the buzz being that he had been offered CMship by the BJP brass. Several leaders tried to convince Sharad Pawar that the best interest of the party lay in supporting the BJP. However, he made it clear that he was not interested in going anywhere.
In his revised memoirs, recently released, Pawar had criticized Uddhav Thackeray for resigning as CM without putting up a fight, which brought down the MVA government in Maharashtra and ignoring the discontent brewing in the Shiv Sena.
The entire episode highlights the power struggle and the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that goes on in politics. However, Sharad Pawar's resilience and ability to emerge victorious in such situations show why he is one of the most respected leaders in Indian politics. The coming days will be interesting to watch as the political drama unfolds in Maharashtra.