The big successor question for veteran politicians Sharad Pawars The surprise resignation as leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) two days ago could be answered tomorrow after a meeting in Mumbai, party circles said on Thursday.
A committee appointed by Mr Pawar to select his successor upon his resignation will meet at 11am at the party office in Mumbai, NCP sources said. If Mr Pawar stands firm on his decision, his daughter Supriya Sule is likely to become party leader, they said.
Sharad Pawar’s resignation, announced in the wake of his nephew Ajit Pawar’s moves to allegedly split the party and take over as party leader, was seen by many as a calculated move to evade an attempted coup.
The anointing of Ms Sule, an MP from her father’s home constituency in Maharashtra, would ensure the wily 82-year-old kept the keys to the door.
Spelling the name Mr Pawar’s loyalists appear to be rallying around, senior party leader Chaggan Bhujbal told NDTV on Wednesday: “Ajit Pawar should take care of the state and (Supriya) Sule should take care of national politics. She should be the next national president if Sharad Pawar does not want to remain president.”
Clearing the way for them Thursday was the Maharashtra party’s unit chief, Jayant Patil, who said he had no desire to become the national president. The confession was repeated a day ago by his colleague Praful Patel.
Mr Patel took his name out of the dispute and said on Wednesday Mr Pawar had not backed down despite repeated appeals from leaders and supporters that he was backing his decision to step down.
He said there was no question of choosing Sharad Pawar’s successor as party leader pending a final decision on his announcement that he would step down.
“Pawar said yesterday there should be a generational change. Maybe he wanted a new generation to come forward. None of us knew about it beforehand. He has asked for some time and we should grant him that,” Mr Patel said.
“He was seeking time to reflect on his decision after the party asked him to reconsider and until the final decision is made there is no question of considering his successor,” he said.
The party is trying to persuade Mr Pawar to reconsider his decision, Mr Patel said, adding that workers should be patient and stop resigning en masse in protest of the decision.
At least two MLAs and several officers have offered to step down following Mr Pawar’s announcement.
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