It's Pawar v/s Pawar over Raj Thackeray
While Sharad Pawar recently lashed out at the MNS chief for objecting to Shiv Sena's annual Dussehra rally, his nephew and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar endorses Thackeray's views
This is the first such instance when they have differed in their views publicly. On the issue of making Shivaji Park available for political rallies, while NCP chief Sharad Pawar had lashed out at Raj Thackeray, Pawar's nephew, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar raised several eyebrows in political circles by taking a contradictory stand and the supporting MNS chief.
Virtually echoing Raj's words, Pawar Junior said if NCP did not get grounds to hold political rallies in the run-up to the civic elections, it would conduct these on the roads of the city.
Pawar's comments came just days after MNS chief Raj Thackeray said the same thing in Mumbai.
The NCP leader even said there was nothing wrong in holding rallies on roads if the party was denied the use of grounds for the purpose.
"There should be some relaxation to hold public rallies on the historic ground. And each political party should get a chance to hold at least one rally. I am going to have a word with alliance partner Congress and later with the election commission," said the Deputy CM.
Pawar's stand is significant in view of the one adopted by his uncle Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who chided MNS on Saturday, saying those with objections to Shiv Sena's annual Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park were narrow-minded as this has been an annual affair since long. "One should show respect towards the judiciary and the judgments. There are many other public grounds in Mumbai where political rallies can be held," Pawar Senior had said.
The observation from Sharad Pawar came immediately after Raj Thackeray's critical comments over the Bombay High Court judgment on the issue. The HC had turned down a request by MNS to hold a public rally at Shivaji Park. Dismissing the petition, the court had observed that permission for the rally was not tenable under the noise pollution rules.
In a sharp reaction, Raj had questioned permission given for Shiv Sena's Dussehra rally last year, though it allegedly violated decibel levels. Challenging the supportive stand taken by state's home ministry, headed by NCP's RR Patil, Raj said it could be due to the friendly relations between Pawar Senior and Bal Thackeray.
"It is clear now that the uncle and nephew have different views. Tomorrow, Ajit Pawar might woo MNS chief Raj to join hands with him to retain power in Pune Municipal Corporation, with controversial Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi returning to Pune in the election period. Kalmadi has been a powerful factor in Pune's local politics," said an NCP leader, who refused to come on record.