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1-min read

Are Congress Leaders Missing From Maharashtra Battleground? Sharad Pawar’s Verdict

Sharad Pawar also trashed senior Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde's comment that the latter's party and the NCP have become "tired". Shinde may himself have grown "tired", he remarked.

PTI

Updated:October 17, 2019, 2:28 PM IST
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Are Congress Leaders Missing From Maharashtra Battleground? Sharad Pawar’s Verdict
File photo of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. (Reuters)

Mumbai: NCP chief Sharad Pawar has defended the Maharashtra Congress, saying it is "not weak" and working aggressively at the grass-root level, as he dismissed suggestions that state leaders of the Grand Old Party are missing in the perception battle ahead of the Assembly polls.

Pawar also trashed senior Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde's comment that the latter's party and the NCP have become "tired". Shinde may himself have grown "tired", he remarked.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis are leading the BJP's poll campaign.

Leaders of the ruling party, however, have been saying that, except Pawar, no opposition leader from Maharashtra is seen in the poll campaign, implying the state Congress leaders are missing in the perception battle.

"I dont think so. The Congress is well-organised at the ground-level in Maharashtra. I have seen at several places that Congress workers are working aggressively, Pawar told PTI in an interview.

He said the Congress workers were toiling also in those Assembly seats where the NCP candidates were in fray. Both the parties are contesting the state polls in

alliance.

"The only difference is the prime minister, the Union home minister, theirs is a tall leadership. Congress' national leadership doesnt belong to, doesnt come from the state (Maharashtra)...there is no Congress leader working at the national level from Maharashtra, Pawar said.

The Maratha strongman said, in his case, he has the benefit of being national president of the NCP and member of Parliament for years, in the perception battle.

"But that doesnt mean the Congress is weak. The Congress has a pool of workers who function well at the grass-root level," the NCP patriarch claimed.

Asked about Shinde's comment, Pawar said, "He might be tired at a personal level. He also took my name. He might be tired, but I am not."

Speaking at a public meeting in Solapur on October 8, the senior Congress leader said his party and the NCP will "come together in the future".

"Even if the Congress and NCP are two different parties, but today I would like to tell you that in the future we will come closer to each other...The NCP and Congress will come together because now they are also tired and we are also tired," Shinde had said, without elaborating.

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