Lack of efficient second generation leaders raise question marks about NCP’s future.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) which had alliance with Congress to rule the Maharashtra state for 15 years suddenly finds itself at the crossroads as questions are being raised about whether the party will fade away after the Sharad Pawar and R R Patil era. Sharad Pawar and R R Patil’s health has become a cause of concern for the party which needs to revive itself after the assembly poll setback. Last month, Pawar was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai after he sustained leg injury from a fall at his Delhi residence. On the other hand, former Maharashtra Home Minister and senior NCP leader R R Patil is undergoing treatment for cancer at Lilavati Hospital and is responding well to chemotherapy.
Patil, the blue eyed boy of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, is a popular face of the party in rural parts of the state due to his clean image. Following the news of deterioration of his health, Pawar and other senior party leaders have been visiting him in hospital. Both these leaders have amicably taken the party forward to make it formidable outfit in the Maharashtra politics. Political analysts are already debating whether the next generation of leaders like Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule can succeed Sharad Pawar.
According to sources, “Ajit Pawar has not been able to gain the confidence of masses as he had made irrelevant remarks like urinating in dam which has not gone down well with the party workers. Even Sharad Pawar had asked Ajit to refrain from issuing controversial statements which will hurt the party’s image. There is also a tussle going on between Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule to lead the NCP after Sharad Pawar’s reign. The party may also split if these two leaders fail to resolve their differences.”
Both these leaders will find it difficult to step into the shoes of Sharad Pawar who commands huge respect in Maharashtra. Pawar has been the pre-eminent figure in Maharashtra politics for over three decades. Rising within the ranks of Congress, he got elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1967. He was mentored by Yashwantrao Chavan, who was also the first Chief Minister of the State of Maharashtra. If there was somebody Bal Thackeray feared in the State for playing sharp and witty games, it was Pawar.
“His condition is stable and he is improving. There is no need to worry. He is undergoing treatment for cancer. The radiation has been done and chemotherapy treatment is being given. He is responding well to chemotherapy,” a hospital spokesman commenting about RR Patil’s health.
Earlier, Patil had undergone a surgery for an oral condition at Breach Candy Hospital in south Mumbai.