NEW DELHI: Embattled Nationalist Congress Party (
) president Sharad Pawar on Saturday kickstarted a statewide tour to revive his tattered 24-year-old party by holding a rally at Yeola in Nashik district, the constituency of rebel party leader and minister Chhagan Bhujbal — once considered very close to the veteran politician.
Scoffing at his nephew
‘s suggestion that he should retire from active politics, the senior Pawar said he will continue working as the party workers want him to keep going.
“Do you know at what age Morarji Desai became the prime minister? I don’t want to become the PM or a minister but only want to serve the people,” Pawar said.
Asserting that he was not old yet, Pawar echoed former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s words, saying, “Na tired hu, na retired hu.” (I am neither tired nor retired). “Who are they to tell me to retire? I can still work,” Pawar said.
The rally comes a week after Ajit Pawar and eight other NCP MLAs joined the Eknath Shinde-led ministry in Maharashtra. The junior Pawar has claimed the support of around 40 of the 53 NCP MLAs.
Ajit Pawar attacks Sharad Pawar in NCP meet
In the ensuing war of words, 63-year-old Ajit had attacked the 82-year-old veteran politician over his age and urged him to step down and give a chance to the new generation, stating that even leaders of the BJP retire at the age of 75.
“IAS officers retire at 60 … even in politics, BJP leaders retire at 75. You can see the example of LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi … That allows the new generation to rise,” junior Pawar had said.
His comments were met with a stern response by NCP working president Supriya Sule. “Disrespect us, but not our father (Sharad Pawar),” Sule said, adding: “I saw the 2019 elections, this 82-year-old man fought and won, age is just a number.”
Following Ajit’s remarks, the NCP chief had said whether he is 82 or 92, he would still be effective.
(With inputs from agencies)