Amid the furious sabre–rattling between the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, in a veiled attack on the BJP on Monday said some people were “getting anxious after being deprived of power”.
Asked about statements repeatedly being made by BJP leaders that Maharashtra’s situation warranted President’s rule, Mr. Pawar said it was true that some people became anxious after power went out of their hands.
“This is not a new thing… Not everyone is like me. After our [State] government was dismissed in 1980, I was told about it at 12.30 in the night. I, along with my friends, immediately vacated the chief ministerial residence and moved to another place. The next day, we all went to watch a cricket match at [Mumbai’s] Wankhede stadium...,” said Mr. Pawar, adding that there was no need to be anxious given the transient nature of power.
“Threats of imposing President’s rule were frequently made, they usually came a cropper.”
“Should a mid–term poll situation arise, then the recent Kolhapur byelection result has shown what kind of outcome one can expect in Maharashtra… I do not think anyone will go to that extent [President’s rule],” said Mr. Pawar, alluding the Kolhapur North reslt where the MVA candidate won with a thumping victory, defeating her BJP rival.
After the 2019 Assembly elections, the Shiv Sena severed its 25–year–old alliance with the BJP despite the saffron parties jointly contesting the polls.
The Sena fell out with the BJP over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray allying with the ideologically opposed NCP and Congress to form the MVA despite the BJP emerging as the single–largest party (winning 105 of the 288 seats). Mr. Pawar was widely considered as the architect of this unlikely political coalition.
Since then, the BJP has been smarting from its ‘defeat’ and has been accusing the Sena for having forsaken its ‘Hindutva’ ideals while leaving no stone unturned to destabilise the three–party coalition.
“Of late, some people are getting anxious and I do not blame them, because before the 2019 Assembly election, claims had been made of them [read the BJP] returning to power. Since, this did not happen, hence this anxiety,” said the NCP chief.
Asked about a BJP delegation (under Kirit Simaiya) meeting the Union Home Secretary over recent incidents that had occurred in Mumbai, Mr. Pawar merely said it was obvious that these ‘anxious’ people would explore options but that there was no need to be perturbed about it.