At a time when, the rumour mills are abuzz with the news of Sonia Gandhi’s scheduled retirement next year, in a surprising turn of events, NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar has emerged as the front-runner to replace Sonia Gandhi as the Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). If Pawar’s expected elevation goes through, it will mean the rekindling of his dormant Prime Ministerial ambitions.
Anyone who has observed Sharad Pawar’s chequered political journey, would tell you about his determination to occupy the Prime Minister’s chair. The advent of the Modi government and the subsequent sinking of the NCP’s fortunes all but finished Pawar’s dream of becoming the PM. However, there seems to be a twist in the tale as his expected coronation as the UPA Chairperson will make Pawar reconsider his dream again.
Senior journalist Pallavi Ghosh who is believed to be close to the Gandhi family reported that Pawar has emerged as the frontrunner to become the next Chairperson of the UPA with Sonia Gandhi all set to retire from the role.
The timing of the report is significant as it comes amidst the farmers’ protests with Pawar being the former Union Minister of Agriculture is leading the charge against the Modi government.
Recently, while speaking to the media, Pawar asked the Centre to take the protests seriously. “I hope wisdom dawns on the government and it takes cognisance to resolve the issue. If this stalemate continues, the protest will not be limited to Delhi, but people from nook and corner of the country will stand by the protesting farmers,” said Pawar.
Pawar also accused the BJP of not listening to the opposition parties and hurriedly passing the laws in the parliament. However, the wily old Pawar was put on the back foot when an old letter of his during his tenure as the Agriculture Minister surfaced where he demanded similar reforms as in the recently passed farm laws.
While INC and NCP have quickly changed their tunes and have claimed that the news of Pawar as the next Chairperson of the UPA is a ploy to deflect attention from the protests, the authenticity of the report cannot be denied as it comes from Pallavi Ghosh who is believed to have the ears of the Gandhi family.
In the afternoon cong says pawar as upa Chmn is an attempt to divert attention from farm protests
— pallavi ghosh (@_pallavighosh) December 10, 2020
A section in the INC is unhappy with the news and is suggesting that the NCP should be merged with the INC if Sharad Pawar is to become the next UPA Chairperson — a demand which is unlikely to be accepted.
Pawar who shares a working relationship with the Modi government has the uncanny ability to bring powerful regional satraps like MK Stalin and Mamata on board — something which Rahul Gandhi clearly lacks.
The UPA allies would certainly prefer to have Pawar at the helm which will mean that Pawar can surely afford to dream again. Pawar wants to be the next Deve Gowda of Indian politics and lead a minority government at the Centre. Only time will tell if Pawar’s dreams can indeed come true come 2024.