Several senior Congress leaders, including former party president Rahul Gandhi, extended warm greetings to NCP chief Sharad Pawar on his 80th birthday on Saturday. Pawar, a former Union minister and Maharashtra chief minister, is one of the foremost Opposition leaders and is also seen as a pivot to the anti-BJP front in the country.
He is known to share good rapport with leaders across political parties including with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "Best wishes to Shri Sharad Pawar on his birthday," Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also greeted Pawar on his birthday and wished him a happy, healthy and long life. In a tweet, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said, "Wishing Sharad Pawar ji a Happy Birthday. May he be blessed with good health to continue his inspirational service to the nation for many more years to follow." Sachin Pilot and Milind Deora, former Union ministers and considered part of the Congress' youth brigade, also wished Pawar on his birthday. Pawar was instrumental in the formation of the NCP-Congress combine's unlikely tie-up with the Shiv Sena last year, after the Sena fell out with its ally BJP following the assembly polls.
On Friday, Pawar had refuted speculations made in a section of the media about him becoming the chairman of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).