Sharad Pawar unfazed, thanks Modi, ‘blames’ ED for NCP split

Pune:  Appearing cool after his nephew Ajit Pawar engineered a vertical split in the party on Sunday, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar ‘thanked’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ‘blamed’ the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Addressing media persons, Pawar, 83, said that just recently, Modi had hurled allegations of corruption against the Congress-NCP.

“Today, his party has joined hands and sworn-in (as Ministers) some people from the same (NCP) party against whom Modi had pointed fingers. This means that Modi’s allegations were baseless, and we are now ‘absolved’ of all the charges. I am thankful to him for this… I am happy for those facing enquiries who have taken oath today,” he said.

The NCP supremo said that some of his party leaders were uneasy about the investigations by various probe agencies like ED, and after the PM’s accusations they got very uneasy, prompting them to take the move on Sunday.

“However, many of those who have gone are in touch with me… Some have also said how their signatures were taken. They have also said that they would make their stance clear in the next two-three days,” said Pawar.

He admitted that he was not ‘aware’ of Ajit Pawar’s resignation as the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA)’s Leader of Opposition on June 30 and blamed him for “breaking up the NCP”.

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Unlike the Shiv Sena-UBT led by ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray, Pawar said that he would not initiate a legal challenge to the ‘split’, and whatever allegations anyone may level, he would go to the peoples’ court and present their stand.

He expressed strong displeasure at the NCP Working President Praful Patel and General Secretary Sunil Tatkare – whom he had appointed on June 10 but both switched over to Ajit Pawar’s side – for not fulfilling their responsibilities properly that led to the split.

To a question, Pawar said that today’s developments are ‘nothing new’ for him and recalled how, in 1986, many leaders had deserted him and he was left with just 5 people with whom he rebuilt the entire party.

“We shall rebuild the party now… There is no second level now. You will soon see new leaders who are concerned about the state and country coming to the fore in the party,” he declared.

Pawar also said that he has been inundated with phone calls from all over the country and among the callers were Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Trinamool Congress President and West Bengal CM Mama Banerjee, expressing their concerns.

In response to a query, the NCP supremo said that Sunday’s upheaval doesn’t indicate a ‘split in the Pawar clan’ and it was politics outside the family ambit.  (IANS) 

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