Pune, Dec 2 (IANS): Amid further churning in the two rival factions of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), its founder-president Sharad Pawar on Saturday urged his loyalists to forget the goners and concentrate on creating a fresh generation of leaders, while dropping several pearls of political wisdom.
Attempting to allay the anxiety among partymen with the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections due next year, Pawar gave a pep-talk to the party workers, referring to certain historical instances to explain the NCP split engineered by his nephew Ajit Pawar, now the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
He recalled how in the 1978 Assembly elections, the then (Congress) had given a big opportunity to the young leaders and over 60 of them were elected.
However, after the elections, the state witnessed a different (Janata Party-led coalition) government.
Later, Pawar said he had gone abroad for a few days and upon return he was surprised to find that of the 60 MLAs who were elected, 90 per cent had defected to other parties, leaving only six behind.
“It was natural that when we crashed from 60 to 6, many people thought that it was the end of our (Congress) ideology. But it embodied the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Yeshwantrao Chavan, B.R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Jyotirao Phule… No one can finish it off,” said Pawar.
The party again dipped into the masses and raised a whole new generation of leaders, and when the elections were held subsequently, of the 60 who had deserted in 1978, nearly 80 per cent lost the public mandate, the octogenarian said.
“This proved that the people did not like the move of the defectors. Again, the party raised a new generation of leadership and in the subsequent elections, as many as 76 were elected as legislators, and the party could give a new direction to Maharashtra politics,” said Pawar.
The NCP founder said that he was citing these examples to emphasise the point that “there is no reason to be bothered if someone goes” out of the party (NCP), as it actually symbolises cleansing of the organisation.
Besides, the development (split) has thrown up a new set of opportunities to infuse fresh blood into the party, strengthen the youth cadre so that in the elections, a large number of NCP people can get elected, Pawar added.
He also expressed optimism that when the new-gen is elected with the full mandate of the masses, they will successfully go ahead, rule the state and solve peoples’ problems.
Instead of bothering about the ‘goners’, Pawar urged the party leaders and workers to contemplate on how to exploit the given opportunities to increase their mass-contact and improve their position in the legislature.
“We have to consider reaching each village, how the NCP workers will build up the party there and convey to the last person standing about the party’s ideology. If you work hard on these lines, you will succeed. You have the responsibility of raising a great new team,” Pawar told the party workers.
On the barrage of criticism from his nephew and other leaders of the breakaway NCP (AP) faction, Pawar Sr. offered the time-tested age-old solution: “Just ignore them, don’t give too much importance, as these are the same people who tried to break the party who are now targeting you and me."
The Maratha strongman explained that they (the defectors) have now realised that “the public will ask them many tough questions tomorrow” and hence they are attempting to divert attention by deploying the formula of attacking the other side.
The 82-year-old cautioned how power comes and goes, saying, “But if you proceed ahead with renewed hope and vigour, the common man will definitely support you."
"There will be nagging thoughts in peoples’ minds – on which (party) ticket you were elected, whose leadership you accepted, what photo you used, your programmes, your problems, and where are you now. The common voters always consider these things,” the veteran politician pointed out.
He said that as long as the common man in the state and country is ‘aware’, there will be the possibility of change in the society, and the trick is to prepare for that change and move ahead with it.
Pawar said that the Lok Sabha elections are barely 3-4 months away, while the Assembly elections will follow in 9-10 months, and the party workers must start working in all the constituencies to be contested by the party.
“You must resolve that ‘we will win this seat’, and if anyone attempts to create a different kind of atmosphere, don’t be misled as "we are committed to an ideology", he concluded.