Yesterday, news surfaced that NCP supremo Sharad Pawar might be replacing Sonia Gandhi as the UPA chairperson. While Pawar denied that any talks in this regard were in the offing, Shiv Sena, the ally of Congress and NCP in the state of Maharashtra has now come out in support of the idea of replacing the Gandhis with Sharad Pawar.
We'll be happy if Pawar sir becomes UPA chairman. But I've heard that he's personally refused it. We will support him if such a proposal comes to the fore officially. Congress is weak now so the opposition needs to come together & strengthen the UPA: Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena leader pic.twitter.com/3NNHEjCmPu— ANI (@ANI) December 11, 2020
Sanjay Raut, who was recently advised by the doctor to speak less given his health condition, has thrown caution to the wind and make a statement supporting the idea of Sharad Pawar becoming the UPA chairperson.
Raut said, “We’ll be happy if Pawar sir becomes UPA chairman. But I’ve heard that he’s personally refused it. We will support him if such a proposal comes to the fore officially. Congress is weak now so the opposition needs to come together & strengthen the UPA”.
Essentially, Shiv Sena, after piggybacking on the Congress and NCP to arm-twist and grab the chair of the Chief Minister, is now abandoning the Gandhis and placing its bets on Sharad Pawar. Saying that his support was because of Congress’ recent debacle in polls, Raut said that UPA needs someone to strengthen the alliance and ‘make the opposition come together’.
Reports claim NCP supremo Sharad Pawar to become UPA chairperson, Pawar denies claims even as allies extend support
Only yesterday, reports indicated that initial talks have already been held to plan the succession of Sharad Pawar as the UPA chairperson. The reports claimed that following the miserable performance of the Congress in the recently held elections including the Bihar Assembly elections and the Hyderabad Municipal polls, some infighting happened in the party. Some leaders demanded answers from the top brass of the party regarding the party’s performance in elections along with demanding Rahul Gandhi’s return as party chief.
It was reported that Rahul Gandhi neither agreed to return as the Congress President nor to succeed his mother as the UPA chairperson. In the given situation, there were high chances that while Rahul Gandhi could continue to be the face of the UPA, Pawar, being the senior-most leader, might take up the position of the UPA chairperson.
However, after much speculation, Sharad Pawar issued a statement saying that no discussion in this regard had been held. Chief spokesperson of the party Mahesh Tapase issued a statement saying that the media reports are unsubstantiated. “Nationalist Congress party would like to clarify that there is no discussion within UPA partners regarding any such proposal”, the statement said.
It is now being speculated by many political watchers that this could have been a rumour that was deliberately spread to test the waters and the reaction of the public, along with those in the UPA alliance itself. NCP might be looking to get greater hold in the functioning of the UPA and the rumour might have helped them test ground with their alliance members.