Sharad Pawar Political Journey: Sharad Pawar’s sensational declaration to resign as the President of the Nationalistic Congress Party (NCP) has brought attention to his extensive political career. Pawar has held the position of Chief Minister of Maharashtra on four occasions. He also spent a decade in New Delhi as a Union minister.
Sharad Pawar embarked on his political journey in 1958 when he joined the Youth Congress. Within four years, he became the president of the Youth Congress in the Pune district. From his involvement in student politics to his tenure as Maharashtra’s Chief Minister and Union minister, Pawar has displayed exceptional political acumen.
Let’s delve into Pawar’s political trajectory and explore his transition from Congress to the NCP, the party he established 24 hours ago.
Political Timeline of Sharad Pawar
- Sharad Pawar’s political timeline began in 1967. It is this when he secured victory in the assembly election from his hometown constituency of Baramati. He has since served in the state legislature or the British parliament.
- Pawar became the youngest Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 1978 at the age of 38. His Progressive Democratic Front (PDF) government held power for two years.
- In 1988, Pawar was elected chief minister of Maharashtra for the second time. In 1990, he was elected for a third time.
- He was appointed Defence Minister in the Narasimha Rao administration in 1991 and served in that capacity through March 1993.
- Following the stepping down of Chief Minister Sudhakarrao Naik in the aftermath of riots in Mumbai, Pawar became the chief minister of Maharashtra for the fourth time in 1993. He retained this position until the 1995 assembly elections. This year saw the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition rise to power with Manohar Joshi becoming the chief minister.
- In 1999, Pawar, along with P A Sangma and Tariq Anwar, was expelled from the Congress. That same year, he founded the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
- In his autobiography, Pawar stated that it was not solely Sonia Gandhi’s “foreign origin” that prompted him to form the NCP. There were also instances where his decisions were overruled and the denial of the Congress Parliamentary Party leader post.
Pawar’s Leadership in the NCP
Pawar was appointed Agriculture Minister in the UPA administration of Manmohan Singh in 2004.
After the UPA won the general elections in 2009, he continued in this role. From 1999 to 2014, the Maharashtra state government was ruled by an alliance between the NCP and the Congress for three consecutive terms.
Forging the MVA Coalition in 2019
The BJP won the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections with 105 seats. Shiv Sena won 56 seats as part of an alliance with the BJP. Despite having enough seats to form a government together, the two allies engaged in a dispute over power-sharing. The conflict was particularly over the post of chief minister. Consequently, the Shiv Sena initiated negotiations with the Congress and NCP.
With no resolution in sight, the Centre imposed President’s Rule in Maharashtra on November 12.
Following on from the ongoing coalition talks between the Shiv Sena, Congress, and NCP, Sharad Pawar declared that Uddhav Thackeray had been selected as the next government’s head by a unanimous vote. However, the unexpected morning oath-taking ceremony of Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar on November 23 caught everyone off guard. Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were sworn in as chief minister and deputy chief minister, respectively, by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. This administration only held office for three days when Uddhav Thackeray was sworn in as the new chief minister.
Pawar, who played a crucial role in facilitating Thackeray’s appointment as CM, has expressed his willingness to support NCP workers not as the party’s chief but as an elder figure guiding them.
Despite stepping down as NCP President, Pawar continues to be a member of the Rajya Sabha, ensuring his presence in the political arena.
We can only admire Sharad Pawar’s remarkable political journey, from his early days in the Youth Congress to his influential positions as Maharashtra’s Chief Minister and Union minister. His strategic maneuvers and ability to adapt to changing political landscapes have solidified his reputation as a seasoned politician.