Mumbai, July 2, 2023- Unfazed as the Nationalist Congress Party ‘vertically split’ in its Silver Jubilee year, its Founder-President Sharad Pawar on Sunday took the in-house ‘gaddari’ by his nephew and new Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in his stride.
Indicating that he may be ‘down but not out’, Sharad Pawar, 83, declared that notwithstanding the split engineered by his over-ambitious nephew, he would again rebuild the party from scratch.
Asked that henceforth, “who could be the most reliable face of the party”, without batting an eyelid, Sharad Pawar raised his right hand and quipped: “Sharad Pawar!”
Stunned for a nano-moment, the entire media battalion erupted into laughter, cheers and claps at this unexpected retort while his partymen also joined in, their spirits lifted somewhat.
Even Pawar had a hearty laugh, and served to lighten the somewhat funeral-like mood prevalent in the entire NCP and the Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT).
Pawar recalled how he had been similarly deserted in 1986 by most of his supporters, but with only five leaders left, he had rebuilt the party again.
However, angry workers in south Mumbai smeared black paint on all the ‘defectors’ who left the party on Sunday on a huge poster which had pictures of several top NCP leaders. (Agency)