Both NCPs celebrate foundation day, Sharad Pawar seeks to complete poll rout in assembly polls

Baramati MP-elect Supriya Sule reminded the faction led by her cousin Mr. Ajit Pawar that their Election Commission-recognised status is ‘temporary’ and she was not surprised that they did not get a berth in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new cabinet

Updated - June 11, 2024 12:09 am IST

Published - June 10, 2024 04:17 pm IST - Mumbai

NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) chief Sharad Pawar addresses the press conference after meeting with winning candidate of their party in the Lok Sabha elections, at party office, in Mumbai. File

NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) chief Sharad Pawar addresses the press conference after meeting with winning candidate of their party in the Lok Sabha elections, at party office, in Mumbai. File | Photo Credit: ANI

Both factions of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) — the ruling party led by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and the Opposition led by his uncle and former union minister Sharad Pawar — celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding on Monday, each claiming legitimacy.

Baramati MP-elect Supriya Sule reminded the faction led by her cousin Mr. Ajit Pawar, that their Election Commission-recognised status is ‘temporary’ and she was not surprised that the rival faction did not get a berth in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new cabinet.

Ajit Pawar’s faction, holding the original party name and election symbol, which managed to win only one seat in the Lok Sabha elections, celebrated in Mumbai. The party led by senior Pawar, which secured eight out of ten contested seats, celebrated in Pune.

Addressing the NCP (SP) workers, Mr. Sharad Pawar exhorted them to be ready for the Assembly elections.

“In the last 25 years, we have worked to spread the party’s ideology. Now let’s take it forward. In the next three months, state assembly elections will take place and it is our responsibility to prepare, as after the polls, power will be in your hands,” the NCP founder said after hoisting his party’s flag.

Mr. Sharad Pawar founded the NCP on June 10, 1999, at a rally in Mumbai’s Shivaji Park, after breaking away from the Congress. Following last year’s split when Mr. Ajit Pawar, along with a majority of MLAs and MPs, joined the ruling alliance, the octogenarian leader prohibited the breakaway faction from using his photograph in events or offices.

BJP lost mandate

He said that the Lok Sabha elections reflected the public’s desire to limit the concentration of power in a few people’s hands. He stated that the ruling BJP would have struggled to get the 272-seat majority in the Lok Sabha without the backing of Nitish Kumar’s JD (U), N. Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP), and other allies.

He observed that the country is currently in a unique situation.

“Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds the reins of government, the election results indicate that the people’s mandate is not in the ruling party’s favour. Compared to their victory five years ago, their seat count has diminished. Their strength and majority in Parliament have declined,” he said.

“Without the support of the JD(U), the TDP, and other allies in Andhra Pradesh, achieving the majority mark would have been difficult for them,” he reiterated.

Pawar claimed that over the past five years, the government has been dominated by one or two individuals who did not consider the broader interests of the country. “But fortunately, the electorate anticipated this and voted to prevent power from being concentrated in a few hands,” he said.

While complete decentralisation of power has not yet been achieved, Mr. Pawar noted that a shift towards a more decentralised administration has begun.

Later in the evening, the party founder addressed a public rally in Ahmednagar, while Mr. Ajit Pawar held a meeting in Mumbai.

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