The statement of former union minister and senior NCP leader Praful Patel that the veteran politician and the NCP party chief Sharad Pawar couldn’t become Prime Minister on two occasions in 1990s when he was with the Congress due to a “Darbar coterie” in that century-old party acting against him, may jeopardise the alliance government of Maha-Vikas-Aghadi.
Earlier, too, perturbed over the NCP’s big brother role within the alliance, the Congress had expressed its reservations several times. Moreover, its senior leader and a cabinet minister Yashomati Thakur even took a strong exception over comments against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi by the NCP chief Pawar, a few days ago.
Speaking on the occasion of Pawar’s 80th birthday, Patel said this “unfinished dream can be fulfilled.” Pawar strengthened his position as a front-rung leader in the Congress in a very little time. He was surely cut off for a prime ministerial role in 1991 and 1996, but the ‘darbar’ (nepotism) politics of Delhi put a spanner, Patel commented and said that this was definitely a personal loss to him, but moreover for the party and the country.
In an article in a newspaper, Patel stated a “scheming coterie” of the Congress ‘darbar’ in Delhi used to engineer revolts in state units to weaken strong leaders. Later, he also said that Pawar missed the opportunity to become a Prime Minister on two occasions. ‘Bante, Bante rah gaye’. “Now, if the entire Maharashtra stands by him, our unfinished dream can be fulfilled,” the senior NCP leader asserted.
Patel’s remarks on Pawar were also endorsed by senior Shiv Sena leader and party spokesman, Sanjay Raut. He said that leaders who were inferior to Pawar ensured that he did not rise to the top. “Pawar’s capabilities and merit became a roadblock in his political journey, Pawar should have got the opportunity to become prime minister long back. Today he is 80. But he is someone for whom age is no barrier, he further said.
But the question is that whether the Congress leadership in the country and particularly in Maharashtra, will show sportsman spirit in this regard. Certainly, as the Congress never recognised efforts of anyone other than from the Gandhi family. It even never spoke about the good work of former Prime Ministers Narasimha Rao, who had introduced the new economic and fiscal reforms policies in the country.
There are some leaders within the Congress who feel only Gandhi-Nehru family members contributed to the national progress. In such situation, the remarks of Patel and Raut would certainly generate new political controversies in the state. If so, it would not be healthy atmosphere for the Maha-Vikas-Aghadi government and its survival!