Sensing the existential crisis of his political outfit, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), veteran politician Sharad Pawar has decided to enter the fray himself in the elections scheduled for civic bodies and Zilla Parishads. Mr Pawar, who never concerned himself with micro details of local elections for the past 17 years, is likely to address five rallies in different cities. More programmes are yet to be scheduled.
According to the finalised programme, Mr Pawar will address rallies in cities like Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nashik. The numbers of rallies is likely to increase after he completes his campaign schedule. Mr Pawar, who was a Union minister between 2004-2014, had never involved himself extensively in local elections since the past 15 years.
NCP party lost the 2014 assembly elections badly, showing no signs of revival in the recent nagar panchayat elections. In such circumstances, NCP is facing its most crucial election since its formation in 1998.
NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “We have accepted our defeat in the 2014 assembly elections. These scheduled elections are like mini-assembly polls where almost 75 per cent of the state is going to vote. So we are trying to strengthen our network under the guidance of Pawar saheb. His presence will boost our morale.”
Reacting to the news of Mr Pawar’s campaigning, BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said, “It is unfortunate that after such long period in politics and at this stage of his political career, Mr Pawar has to campaign for these elections. It do not suits for his stature and also shows dire state of NCP.”