A senior NCP minister, who joined the Eknath Shinde-led government in Maharashtra along with Ajit Pawar last month, has expressed faith in the leadership of Sharad Pawar, a day after saying that the party founder was unable to muster a ”clear majority” to form government during his long political innings.
Under fire for his remarks on Sharad Pawar, NCP minister Dilip Walse-Patil on Monday claimed his remarks, made at a public event in Pune district, were misconstrued by the media.
He said Sharad Pawar will be his leader even in the future, and respect for the 82-year-old veteran will remain forever in his mind.
Addressing party workers at Manchar in his Assembly constituency of Ambegaon on Sunday, Walse-Patil said that the people of Maharashtra never gave Sharad Pawar power on his own or allowed him to single-handedly form the government.
Walse-Patil, state cooperation minister and former close aide of Sharad Pawar, said, “I feel the media has gotten it wrong. I never spoke ill about Pawar saheb. I was expressing regret that while other regional parties achieved power on their own, the people of Maharashtra did not give it to him. There is no question of demeaning Pawar saheb or questioning his ability,” said Walse-Patil.
“Despite being their tallest leader, the people of Maharashtra did not stand with him with full strength. I expressed my disappointment about this. This is not the first time that I spoke about it. I have said this in the past as well, including in party meetings. It is impossible that I would utter a wrong word or criticise Pawar saheb. I express regret over this misunderstanding,” he said.
Walse-Patil came under flak from Sharad Pawar loyalist and former minister Jitendra Awhad who called him an “ungrateful” person.
NCP MLA and Pawar’s grandnephew Rohit Pawar said it was people like Walse-Patil who were around Sharad Pawar during most of his political career.
“Had these people worked harder, Pawar saheb would have gained power single-handedly, Rohit Pawar said.