Sharad Pawar’s legacy is befitting of fetching him the title of one of the most “interesting and astute” components in the history of Indian politics. This octogenarian has battled numerous coups, allegations, adversaries, and even oral cancer and has always emerged victorious.
In his 56-year-long political career, Ajit Pawar had the Chief Minister’s chair, wealth, and dignity put at stake in his pursuit for power. But, at 83, his fate is taking him for a ride as his most cherished possession, his family, faces jeopardy. He has weathered many storms, but this time his physical frailty is a grave threat to his ability for political recuperation.
It all started with two viable candidates to succeed Sharad Pawar as the NCP high command. Nephew Ajit Pawar, who has been through the highs and lows of his uncle’s party, stands against daughter Supriya Sule who has been a Lok Sabha legislator for the last 14 years. With Sharad’s fondness towards his daughter overshadowing his trust in his nephew, political experts had foreshadowed such a fallout for a long time.
Ajit has the disreputation of snubbing family ties before. In 2019, he marched to the Raj Bhawan with his political rival and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis and swore himself in as the Deputy CM and Fadnavis as the CM of the BJP Government. Such a slander caused much ruckus across the political spectrum, but this mess got rinsed within 80 hours of its inception. However, there is too much at stake today, with too little time for straightening things out.
The math of “Pawar vs. Pawar 2.O” – Maharashtra Politics
On 2nd July 2023, the nephew of Sharad Pawar and a four-time Deputy CM of Maharashtra, Ajit Pawar, rebelled against his political patriarch. As the situation presents itself, Ajit Pawar has 25 out of the 53 NCP MLAs having officially declared their allegiance towards him. While 14 MLAs have pledged their unfettering faith to the senior Pawar.
Out of the remaining 14 MLAs, Ajit Pawar must bag the support of at least 11 MLAs to make his rebellion successful. Devendra Fadnavis must be squirming the party’s purse while Eknath Shinde watches “his government” undergo radical changes in which he has little to offer.
Should Ajit succeed in his rebellion, he will break Eknath Shinde’s hegemony inside the Eknath-BJP coalition and offer the BJP high command a breathing space from the inner party politics of the Shinde clan.
If he fails, the BJP will face much humiliation as the fog clears, and the people of Maharashtra might decide to exercise their suffrage against them in the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
Either way, Sharad Pawar has the highest stake in this fiasco, as even at 83, he has to undertake the arduous task of rebuilding the Nationalist Congress Party. Now that his daughter Supriya Sule has the unofficial whip of the party, the situation can unfold in multiple ways.
What lies ahead for Sharad Pawar and the Anti-BJP faction?
Even when Ajit Pawar is the one making the headlines, political connoisseurs are keen on observing the tactful mind of his uncle. Sharad, who had once been a Kingmaker and forever a Congressman, has a stronger connection with the masses than many other exponents in Maratha politics.
As a man who has witnessed and has been a part of the radical changes in political regimes in his life, Sharad Pawar must have approximated the probability of a second rebellion staged by his nephew.
He has often preached that there were no “untouchables” in politics. Those who have known this legislator personally have always admired his negotiating skills, and it is too early for us to deduce the credibility of Ajit Pawar’s wild move in the battlefront of Maratha politics.
Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar have a “tried-and-tested” card under their sleeves. It is the emotional victim card of having been betrayed by their own kin and allies, and based on the track record for Indian Voters’ gullibility, the Maha Vikas Aghadi has a slight edge over BJP in selling their story to the average voter from Maharashtra.
What is the public’s stake in all these?
India has long been independent, but it is rather unfortunate that even after overthrowing the country’s colonial past, a layman’s destiny keeps getting tossed around under personal ambitions, whims of a few, and feuds in “high-profile families.”
People need not suffer under the blaze of such political ruckus. However, it is a tragedy for the public as the dirt of the regional and national politics stain their mandate and prospect for individual growth. Despite the enticing aspects of politics, the problems associated with a commoner’s life keep getting shrugged off. Farmers still continue to die, and young people keep scavaging for jobs.
Also Watch : Public Views on Maharashtra Politics (Ground Report from Mumbai)