Ruling himself out of the chief ministerial race, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday said he will not take any post of power and will now be seen only in organisational and advisory capacity while in public life.
“I will turn 75 in a couple of years. I have been an elected representative for 48 years out of which 25 years have been in position of power. Now I have decided to stop. I will now be seen in organisational and advisory capacity in the party,” the Rajya Sabha MP said when asked by reporters about demand from his partymen to take chief ministership after the Maharashtra Assembly polls.
Pawar, while becoming the Rajya Sabha member earlier this year, had declared that he would neither contest elections nor take position of power.
Refusing to discuss post poll realignment, he said the NCP is focussing on bagging total majority in the elections.
“Our total concentration is to secure a majority. We are not applying our mind on what to do after the results,” he said during an interaction organised by the Mantralaya and Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh, an association of reporters who cover legislature and government.
Blaming former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for the split in Congress-NCP alliance, he said it was pre-decided by the Congress.
“AICC secretary Swaraj Valmiki, who is joint in-charge of the state, has gone on record to state that the decision to snap ties with NCP was taken three months ago and Chavan was part of the decision,” he said.
Pawar said NCP could have settled for 125 to 130 seats even though it had demanded equal seat-sharing and Chief Minister’s post on rotation.
“When you start a negotiation, it is always from the highest point and not lowest. However, Congress released its list of candidates even before the negotiations could be completed,” he said.
The BJP and Congress had made preparations to contest all the seats, he said.
“In fact, we had not made preparations to go alone,” he said, adding that his tours so far show that the situation is good for NCP to form government on its own.
When asked about former Home Minister RR Patil’s remarks trivialising rape when he said an MNS candidate for the Assembly poll jailed for the offence could have waited for elections to get over before committing the crime, Pawar said the remarks were condemnable.
“I spoke to him and made my displeasure known. He has apologised. Hence, the matter should be treated closed,” he said.