Sharad Pawar, president of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), visited the YB Chavan Centre in Mumbai on Thursday for the second day in a row to meet with NCP workers after announcing his intention to resign from the position. Pawar visited the YB Chavan Centre on Wednesday as well, where he spoke with party members from various parts of the state. The 82-year-old leader announced on Tuesday that he will be leaving his post as the NCP head, but will not quit public life.
Leaders and members of the 24-year-old party were baffled by the announcement, made by Sharad Pawar at the launch event of his autobiography.
On Thursday, the NCP chief arrived outside the YB Chavan Centre in a bid to calm cadre who had been protesting his decision to quit the top post for three days.
Speaking outside the Y B Chavan Centre in the city, where his supporters have been camping to demand his continuation as the party chief, Pawar said he would take a final decision in the next couple of days and the sentiments of party workers will not be ignored. "I respect your sentiments. I should have discussed my plans with all of you and taken you into confidence. But I know you wouldn't have allowed me to take the decision (of stepping down as party chief)," the former Union minister told his supporters.
He said some party colleagues from outside Maharashtra will meet him on Friday to discuss the issue. "I will take a final decision in one or two days," he said.
A party worker present on the side said, “We request that you (Sharad Pawar) reconsider your decision, we have agreed to all the decisions that you have conveyed to us but this decision of not being the NCP chief is not acceptable for us. It is our humble request that you reconsider the decision because this request is not only from Mumbai but across the country, we also have letters with us as well which are being handed over to you. At this point of time the request which has been made by each and every NCP worker and leader from the state and the country that you should reconsider your decision. You should take back the decision and continue as the chief of the party,”
Another lady worker said to Sharad Pawar, “Since 3 days we have been sitting here and continuously requesting you to consider your decision and we will continue till the time you don't take back your decision. You have given an ample of chances to each and every leader who is standing here and we are working for the party and under your blessing and your guidance. At this point of time if the country can be saved, it is only because of you and you should continue to be the chief, the leader of the party. We need you and you should continue.,”
The NCP Chief appealed to the workers as he stated, “I am meeting the leaders of the party from two days and I can understand the feeling you are expressing at YB Chavan, at this place. I am getting calls not only from Maharashtra but across the country. Whatever decision I have taken, for the further course of the party, it's for the future of the party. And I truly believe that there should be a new face which will take the party forward. It was very hard for me as well to take this decision, I thought about it a lot.,”
“I have to stand with my decision but the only intention is to see the future of the party. The committee has been formed and the final decision will be taken only after the decision. I will also attend all the meetings and the feelings of all the workers would be taken into consideration.” Some of them argued that Pawar should lead the party at least until the 2024 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, while others threatened to go on a hunger strike if he did not change his mind.
(With inputs from PTI)
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