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54 - the number that stopped Sharad Pawar from becoming PM in 1991 but made him kingmaker in 2019

54 - the number that stopped Sharad Pawar from becoming PM in 1991 but made him kingmaker in 2019

As the political rollercoaster comes to a stop today in Maharashtra, it is important to mention the crucial role played by Shard Pawar, the scriptwriter of the Maha game plan. It is only right to say that after Balasaheb Thackeray, the mighty Pawar has emerged as the superstar of Indian politics.

Pawar remained the central figure throughout the political scuffle in Maharashtra that started soon after the Assembly elections results were out on 24th October 2019. Though the fight that ended officially today with the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance taking over the government and Uddhav Thackeray as the Chief Minister, Pawar was shining right from the time of campaigning. His iconic speech in Satara in the rain, became the landmark event of 2019.

Sharad Pawar, who exited Congress after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination which led to Sonia Gandhi taking the lead, is highly respected by Sonia. While the Sena-NCP-Congress alliance talks were on, Sonia made it very clear to her party members that she won’t take any decision without Pawar’s consent.

While Pawar was still in Congress, in 1991 when the congress party had regained power in the post-Rajiv Gandhi era, Pawar faced a mere miss from being the Prime Minister of India. During that time, Sonia had refused to make any direct intervention and Sharad Pawar took charge of the situation.

He became pro-active and held several dinners with the help of the likes of Suresh Kalmadi. However, the will to take the party forward in the hour of grief backfired on Pawar and he was left with the support of barely 54 MPs. In the prolonged tug-of-war, Pawar fought against Arjun Singh but the party ended up naming P.V Narsimha Rao as Prime Minister.

Sharad Pawar’s NCP secured 54 seats in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections as well. Though the Maratha warrior could have sidelined with BJP post its fallout with Sena, Pawar, as usual, took a more difficult route and shook hands with Shiv Sena and Congress.

Pawar had picked up on the signs from the ground, the common discontent with the Modi-Shah led government with former CM Devendra Fadnavis in lead in Maharashtra, he managed to pull off a non-BJP government in Maharashtra.

With Ajit Pawar’s betrayal and ‘Ghar Wapsi’ scenes, and him being the mastermind behind the unimagined alliance between Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, the future of Maharashtra politics is yet again in the hands of the 78-year-old Maratha strongman.

 
 
 



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