The shock of Sharad Pawar’s resignation: despair or masterstroke?

The shock of Sharad Pawar's resignation: despair or masterstroke?

Sources believe Sharad Pawar could appoint a sitting president and continue to lead the NCP.

Sharad Pawar’s resignation as NCP leader today surprised his party as well as his Maharashtra allies Uddhav Thackeray and the Congress. Hours later, amid a dramatic show of distress within his party, Sharad Pawar agreed to “rethink” and said he needed “two-three days”.

As soon as 82-year-old Sharad Pawar dropped the bomb this morning at the launch of his autobiography, NCP leaders swarmed the stage. Some leaders cried and many said they would stay put unless the veteran changed his mind.

The only leader who appeared to accept the decision and talk about the future was Sharad Pawar’s nephew and political heir, Ajit Pawar, whose recent moves have sparked speculation he may split the party and join the BJP. It is believed to be BJP’s plan B if its Maharashtra ally Chief Minister Eknath Shinde loses the Sena v Sena case in the Supreme Court and is disqualified along with 15 other MPs.

“Pawar Saheb himself spoke about the need for a change of guard a few days ago. We should see his decision in light of his age and his health as well. Everyone has to make a decision based on time, Pawar Saheb has made a decision and he will not take it back,” Ajit Pawar told the party men.

He also assured that the next president will work under the leadership of Sharad Pawar.

In the evening, Ajit Pawar had another message from his uncle. “Sharad Pawar said I have made my decision but thanks to all of you I will rethink my decision. But I need two to three days and I will only think about it if the workers go home. Some people have also resigned from party posts, these resignations should stop,” he said.

Sources believe Sharad Pawar could appoint a sitting president and continue to lead the party.

With his shock resignation, Sharad Pawar has once again shown he has full control over the party, a message that needed to get through at a time when there were rumors of his nephew trying to engineer defections.

Mr Pawar announced his resignation on camera, prompting an outpouring of support from his party MPs.

The impact of an NCP reshuffle will go beyond the party to the ideologically disparate alliance that Mr Pawar brought together in 2019, bringing a coalition led by Uddhav Thackeray to power. Last year, Uddhav Thackeray lost power after a coup in his party led by Eknath Shinde, who linked up with the BJP.

The opposition coalition is now on more fragile ground, completely dependent on Mr. Pawar, the glue.

Mr Pawar, one of India’s shrewdest politicians and a veteran of many coalitions for decades, is also a key driver of opposition unity attempts ahead of the 2024 national elections. The outcome of the NCP crisis could have a far greater impact on national politics.

Leave a Comment