SATARA: With the Nationalist Congress Party witnessing desertions by a number of leaders recently, party chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday extended his “best wishes” to them and said he has experience of tackling such situation.
Mr Pawar also said local MLA Shivendrasinh Bhosale resigning and embracing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party would have no bearing on the NCP’s Assembly poll prospects in Maharashtra’s Satara district.
He expressed confidence that the NCP would retain the seat.
The opposition parties in Maharashtra, particularly the NCP, witnessed its lawmakers and key leaders joining the BJP and Shiv Sena last month.
These include three NCP legislators- Shivendrasinh Bhosale, Sandeep Naik and Vaibhav Pichad- who joined the BJP along with the party’s state women wing president Chitra Wagh.
Besides, its Mumbai unit president Sachin Ahir and Shahapur MLA Pandurang Barora joined the Shiv Sena last month.
“My best wishes to those in the party who have other ideas (of desertion) on their minds. Such situations arise in politics sometimes and I have the experience of dealing with it,” Mr Pawar told reporters in Satara.
The former Union minister said he was not concerned about the NCP’s prospects in Satara in the Assembly polls, due in September-October, after Shivendrasinh Bhosale’s decision to jump the ship.
“I have received three applications (from candidates seeking the party’s poll tickets) from Satara Assembly segment. So, I am not concerned about (falling short of) candidates. The party will definitely retain the seat,” the NCP patriarch said.
Mr Pawar also said the Satara MLA had confided in him that the latter would not join the BJP.
Shivendrasinh Bhosale had also sought a meeting with Satara MP and
his cousin Udayanraje Bhosale, Mr Pawar added.
Shivendrasinh Bhosale and Udayanraje Bhosale are said to be sharing strained relationship.
“He (Shivendrasinh Bhosale) wanted a meeting with the Satara MP. We decided we will discuss the issue after the (on-going) Parliament session is over. But he took the decision (of quitting the party) even before we could hold discussion,” Mr Pawar said.
The veteran leader also said he is clueless about how many more NCP men from Satara will quit the party.
But in the same breath, Mr Pawar added those who follow the ideology of late Deputy Prime Minister and first Maharashtra Chief Minister Yashwantrao Chavan, a Congress stalwart who belonged to Satara, will not make such a move.
Noting the NCP MLAs, who switched allegiance to the BJP-Shiv Sena, contended that they were unable to carry out public works while being on the opposition benches, Mr Pawar said it showed the ruling parties were functioning with “vendetta”.