Why everyone is saying Sharad Pawar will join NDA

There is always a method in the political madness.

 |  4-minute read |   13-09-2017
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In politics, as a rule of thumb, the obvious is always ruled out. And who else knows this rule better than NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

He, in fact, follows it religiously. Right from his early days in politics, Pawar has managed to create an aura of unpredictability around him, which sometimes keeps everyone in abeyance, but allows him to play well the politics of survival.

He also finds himself surrounded by people, political leaders and journalists who further cement this image of his. Every time there are talks of a Cabinet reshuffle at the Centre or in Maharashtra, or a Shiv Sena-BJP fight erupts, the buzz that Pawar's NCP is joining the NDA too starts doing the rounds. The speculation continues, until a senior leader from the NCP dismisses it to be a "wild rumour".

But does that stop the rumour mills from churning? No.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who is also known to be close to Pawar, has recently claimed that the latter told him that Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered a Cabinet berth to his daughter Supriya Sule, but she refused. Raut claimed this in his weekly column in Saamana (he is the executive editor of the party mouthpiece).

That same day, finance minister Arun Jaitely shared the dais with Pawar in Pune and "issued a certificate" on Pawar’s "desh bhakti" saying that it's the country that always comes first for the senior NCP leader.

Again, no one from the NCP is ready to clear the air. While party spokespersons do not dare to offer any clarification, it also appears that they are not privy to any such development.

pawar_091317032832.jpgImage: India Today

A day later, the Maharashtra anti-corruption bureau filed a chargesheet in the court in the Kondhane dam scam case and mentioned that the probe into Sunil Tatkare’s - a confidante of NCP state president and Pawar’s nephew, Ajit Pawar - role was not over, though they have not framed any charges against him so far.

And then came the clarification from Supriya Sule over Raut's claims. She flatly refused that any such development took place while her father is yet to comment on Raut's article.

There is always a method in the political madness.

In 2014, after a crushing defeat, the NCP was faced with the dilemma whether to continue as an ally of the Congress or go with the BJP. It is striking that ever since Sharad Pawar formed the NCP, this dilemma has persisted. What is more striking is the fact that Pawar perhaps is the only politician who has worked with the Congress as well as other opposition parties and across ideologies.

That also makes him someone who has never faced much difficulty working with anyone. In 1999, when he left (though he claimed he was thrown out) the Congress, he was confident that the party's fortunes will dwindle under Sonia Gandhi's leadership and he will replace the original Congress. But that didn't happen.

Even then his close friend, late Pramod Mahajan, used to claim that Pawar is ready to join the NDA like George Fernandes.

Despite all that, the Congress and the NCP came together to form the government in Maharashtra and ran it for 15 years. What's more, in 2004, he also kept aside the issue of Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin (one of the main reasons over which he had "quit" the Congress in 1999) and joined the central government too.

His justification to join the then UPA government was clear - something he has also mentioned in his autobiography - "as a political person you can' t do much by remaining in opposition or out of power".

It seems the same stands true even now. In his long political career, Pawar has not spent too many years out of power. And that was only when he was in the Opposition against the Congress. He finally came around and joining hands with the Congress.

However, he continued to share a good rapport with leaders from across political spectrum -  Left, Left of centre, Sangh Parivar.

And that perhaps is the secret of his survival. No one knows which side of the battle he is fighting for, or even if he is winning or not. 

Also read: Is Sharad Pawar BJP's new friend with benefits?

Writer

Sahil Joshi Sahil Joshi @sahiljoshii

Senior editor, India Today TV

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