Sharad Pawar has declared the MNS’s Raj Thackeray a better leader than the Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray.
“Journalists are asking me questions about Uddhav Thackeray and Raj Thackeray,” the NCP president posted on Facebook. “I think Raj Thackeray showed the guts to set up an independent party of his own and achieved its growth painstakingly whereas Uddhav got his party on a platter as a hereditary gift bequeathed to him. This is a fundamental and decisive difference between both of them.”
The statement continues a war of words that began with Uddhav claiming Pawar had been keen to join the NDA until Uddhav’s opposition foiled those plans. Pawar responded on Tuesday that Uddhav’s statement was the “joke of the year”.
On Wednesday, Pawar said Raj Thackeray’s MNS is not a party to be taken lightly.
“It is truth that the MNS cannot be taken lightly. The votes they have polled in the last elections and presence that I have seen at their rallies back up my stand,” Pawar told reporters at a function in Alibaug Wednesday.
He countered Uddhav’s claim to say it was seven or eight Shiv Sena MPs who had met him and wanted to switch over. “There were seven or eight MPs who met me and wanted to either join the NCP or the Congress. However we could not absorb all of them as we had assured other members tickets from their constituencies,” Pawar said. “This just shows how the organisation is being run and how capable the leadership of the party is.”
Three Sena MPs have quit, including Anand Paranjape and Ganesh Dudhgaonkar who have joined the NCP. Senior Sena leaders such as Mohan Rawle and close associates of Uddhav such as Rahul Narvekar too have quit to join the NCP.