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Maharashtra Assembly polls: No post-poll tie-up with BJP, Sena, says Pawar

NCP chief Sharad Pawar addresses a press conference in Mumbai on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president and former Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Sunday said his party will not ally either with the Shiv Sena or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the Maharashtra Assembly elections. Significantly, he praised Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray for his leadership skills.

“People had reservations about his [Uddhav’s] leadership qualities after the death of Balasaheb Thackeray [Sena founder]. But the way he has expanded and strengthened the party are commendable,” Mr. Pawar told a press conference here.

The NCP chief said the BJP’s victory in Maharashtra during the Lok Sabha elections was “largely because of the Sena.”

Mr. Pawar’s words come as surprise since during the Lok Sabha polls he had attacked Mr. Thackeray over his leadership qualities. He had then praised the Sena chief’s estranged cousin and president of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Raj Thackeray, saying his significant support base could not be ignored. However, all MNS candidates lost their deposits in the general election.

Not to accept any post

Amid requests from his party leaders to lead Maharashtra once again after the Assembly polls, Mr. Pawar announced that he would no longer accept any position, either at the Centre or in the State.

“I will turn 75 in one year. I have decided to stop. The next generation must take up the responsibility from now on. I will only work as their guide,” said Mr. Pawar, who contested his first election in 1967.

Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Pawar said his actions were reducing the dignity of the PM’s post.

“Mr. Modi went to the U.S. as India’s PM and not as BJP leader. The BJP is using his U.S. speech for the election campaign. This is an utter misuse of power,” he said.

He criticised Doordarshan for the live telecast of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s speech on Dasara.

“The management said it had news value. But at the same time lakhs of followers of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had gathered in Nagpur for Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din. This government didn’t find any news value in that event,” criticised Mr. Pawar.

Condemns NCP leader’s remark

Mr. Pawar condemned the controversial remark on rape made by Maharashtra’s former Home Minister and senior NCP leader R.R. Patil. At a campaign rally in Sangli on Friday, Mr. Patil said the rape-accused Opposition party candidate should have waited for the elections to end before committing rape.

“Such statements cannot be entertained. I will never support this,” he said.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 1:26:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-assemly-polls-no-postpoll-tieup-with-bjp-sena-says-pawar/article6494784.ece

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