What Pawar wants: chief ministership in Maha
The Maratha in Sharad Pawar seems to have risen again. This is the third time that he has embarked on a mission to forge new alliances and realignments.
It was part of this strategy that agriculture minister Sharad Pawar wrote a 5-page note to prime minister Manmohan Singh about 20 days ago listing short-comings of managing the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and how people are getting angry with the handling of several issues. It did create some ripple. Sharad Pawar maintained silence as the UPA was in the midst of the president’s poll.
But his second letter sent at 5 pm sharp to the prime minister on Friday created shock and disbelief. In this 2-page letter, Pawar listed reasons for his resignation and said things have reached at point of no return.
But contrary to popular beliefs, Pawar has decided to gamble again. He ditched Congress in the 70s to become the chief minister of Maharashtra. Rajiv Gandhi brought him back in 1988 and made him the chief minister. He deserted Congress on the Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin issue in 90s. It took him nowhere. After ruling for eight years, he thinks, time is right to chalk out his own political journey.
After the Trinamool Congress’ virtual revolt and disenchantment among other smaller allies, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief decided to give a rude jolt to the Congress-led UPA.
Heavy industries minister Praful Patel is right when he said that the issue of number two in the Cabinet and seating arrangement is not at the heart of the matter. At the heart is the issue whether Sharad Pawar’s party will get the chief ministership of Maharashtra. Pawar wants rotation formula like in Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and elsewhere. The coalition governments should be run by rotation. In fact, in Maharashtra, the NCP had majority over Congress. Yet the Congress got chief ministership.
“Pawar wants chief ministership of Maharashtra for the next two years. How can he demand number two slot in a Cabinet where he has just 10 MPs in the Lok Sabha?” said a senior NCP leader.
Even Patel maintained that Pawar was not worried about getting the No. 2 slot in the Union Cabinet after the resignation of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. He said the NCP cautioned the Congress and raised several political issues from time to time, but they were yet to be resolved.
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