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With eye on Centre, Sharad Pawar stays closeted with his party leaders

NCP supremo’s hush-hush meeting yesterday, ahead of one already scheduled for May 10, fuels speculation on the party’s role in New Delhi in the post-poll scenario

NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s hush-hush meeting yesterday with senior party leaders and key ministers fuelled speculation about the role that the party could play after the results to the general elections are announced.

The meet, which comes ahead of the May 10 meeting, was a surprise for Pawar’s own partymen
The meet, which comes ahead of the May 10 meeting, was a surprise for Pawar’s own partymen

The meet came as a surprise even for his partymen, as a full-fledged meeting has already been scheduled on May 10. Around 5 pm, Pawar reached NCP’s state headquarters where ministers such as Chhagan Bhujbal, RR Patil, Madhukar Pichad, Anil Deshmukh, Dilip Sopal, Shashikant Shinde and Manohar Naik were waiting for him.

Party’s state unit chief Bhaskar Jadhav and ex-minister Vijaysinh Mohite Patil were also present, and the meeting assumed importance when state assembly speaker Dilip Walse Patil too turned up for it.

While Bhujbal and Mohite Patil are party candidates, who contested from Nashik and Madha respectively, the rest of the ministers and leaders present were directly involved in electioneering with responsibility for particular constituencies.

While R R Patil played a crucial role in Sangli, Beed and Kolhapur, Bhaskar Jadhav was concentrating on Raigad, Sopal was active in Osmanabad, Shinde in Satara, Pichad in Ahmednagar, Deshmukh in Amravati and Dilip Walse Patil in Shirur constituency.

Game of thrones
According to party sources, Pawar wanted to know about the possible results from the seats that the NCP had contested in order to be prepared for the soon-to-begin political deliberations in Delhi.

In a scenario where the Congress has no problem in extending support to the Third Front to stop Narendra Modi from becoming prime minister, Pawar’s role during the future discussions will be important, said a party leader.

Out of the 21 seats that the NCP contested in Maharashtra, party leaders claimed it will win anywhere between eight and 12. In 2009, the party had won eight seats from the state and it hopes to add a few new ones to that tally to be able to play a decisive role in national politics, but the talk of Modi wave has unnerved its rank and file.

There is a strong possibility that the Congress’ tally in the state may not go beyond 10 seats, say NCP leaders, and in that event the regional party’s role will be significant, feel party insiders.

Pawar’s decision to hold discussions yesterday was also important in the context of his Delhi visit on Monday, where he took oath as a member of Rajya Sabha.

8
NCP’s seat tally in the state in the 2009 elections

10
No of state seats it expects Congress to be restricted to this time around

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