NCP supremo Sharad Pawar completes 55 years in electoral politics
Dressed in an immaculate and iconic white half shirt and white trousers, with two Pilot pens in his shirt pocket, wearing a white round dial watch and usually carrying a folder in his left hand, Sharad Pawar, the founder-chairman of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is ready early in the morning.
During the six decades of his political career, he earned monikers like “Maratha strongman”, “Chanakya”, “Machiavelli” and “Bheeshma Pitamaha” from Indian politics.
An early riser, Pawar, after a light breakfast, leaves his Silver Oak bungalow in Mumbai to go to his office for meetings, taking on countless calls, video conferences and other daily commitments, returning home him in the evening after sunset or even later.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the health issues Pawar is facing, he is very active and travels regularly across Maharashtra.
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Four times Chief Minister and three times Union Minister, Pawar is respected by India’s leading politicians. On February 22, 2022, Pawar ‘saheb’, as he is popularly known, spent 55 years in legislative bodies, remarkably having never lost an election in all those years.
“Pawar saheb started his journey as MP for Baramati exactly 55 years ago during which time he held many positions of power. He has served as a Minister in Maharashtra and Union Government as well as Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha,” his daughter Supriya Sule tweeted. .
“During his 55-year tenure, Pawar saheb made several progressive decisions that had an immense positive impact on society. He has been praised both nationally and internationally. Saheb follows in the footsteps of the late Yashwantrao Chavan saheb. I congratulate Pawar saheb for having completed 55 years in electoral politics and 60 years in public office,” she said.
Pawar is one of the few politicians in the country to never lose a Vidhan Sabha or Lok Sabha poll. Pawar had won Baramati’s Maharashtra Legislative Assembly polls in 1967, 1972, 1978, 1980, 1985 and 1990 and Baramati’s Lok Sabha polls in 1984, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004 and two Rajya Sabha elections of his home state of Maharashtra.
He was four times Chief Minister of Maharashtra and three times Union Minister, having managed portfolios of Defense in the governments led by PV Narasimha Rao and Agriculture under Dr Manmohan Singh. He also served as Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of Lok Sabha and Maharashtra, also a rare distinction.
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Pawar’s experience comes from on the ground experience, unlike the Twitter-Facebook-Instagram approach of modern politicians who are often cut off from the realities on the ground.
Pawar perhaps knows the best way to lead an alliance government, even with parties of different and diametrically opposed ideologies.
And that comes from experience: in July 1978, Pawar separated from Congress (U) to form a coalition government with the Janata Party. He became Maharashtra’s youngest chief minister when he was just 38 years old. The Progressive Democratic Front government was removed from office in February 1980, after Indira Gandhi returned to power.
Similarly, in 1999 he raised the issue of Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin, after which he and PA Sangama and Tariq Anwar were expelled from Congress, but in the same year the newly formed NCP and Congress joined forces. to form the Democratic Front. government that lasted 15 years until 2014. He was also a major connecting factor of the Congress-led UPA at the Center between 2004 and 2014. He again proved his skills in 2019, when the combination Congress- NCP teamed up with Shiv Sena, whom it has been fighting for decades, and stitched together the MVA to keep the BJP out of power.
Now too, he is working to forge an opposition unit to confront the BJP.
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