Senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi Thursday said Sharad Pawar had expressed desire for an alliance with them in the 2009 Maharashtra assembly elections. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray had given his consent but at last minute Pawar backtracked.
The former chief minister and Lok Sabha Speaker made this revelation during Loksatta Idea Exchange in Mumbai. Joshi said, “In the last assembly elections, Pawar had hinted of a possible alliance between NCP and Shiv Sena. In response Uddhav Thackeray gave his consent. But after some time Pawar backtracked.”
Speaking on the state of affairs in Sena, he said, “If Bal Thackeray were alive, nobody in the organisation would have dared to humiliate him in Sena. Nor would he have been sidelined in the organisation.” He said Bal Thackeray always took quick decision and there was no discrepancy between his words and deeds.
Asked whether he sees the possibility of NCP joining the NDA after 2014 elections, he said, “One can never state with certainty when and how Pawar will change his decision.” In this context, Joshi said that during last assembly elections a meeting took place at Pawar’s Peddar Road residence in Mumbai. But at the last minute, Pawar changed his decision stating, “It is not possible now.”
However, Joshi refused to divulge whether the discussion of possible alliance between Sena and NCP included BJP.
Joshi expressed disappointment over Pawar’s failure to help them in construction of a grand memorial for Bal Thackeray. “Although Pawar took the initiative for Thackeray memorial, he did not pursue it to its logical end.”
Sidestepping critical questions related to Uddhav’s style of functioning in the organisation and alleged ill-treatment meted to the senior leaders or rise of generation next Aditya Thackeray, Joshi emphasised on affection and respect he got from Bal Thackeray. He said Bal Thackeray’s blessings helped him attain the office of chief minister and Lok Sabha Speaker.
However, he said, “Bal Thackeray’s dream to see the empowerment of Marathi manoos and Hindutva dominance remains a dream. I have continued to stay in Shiv Sena despite humiliation because I want to work to fulfill his unfinished dreams.”
Responding to differences between Uddhav and Raj, he said, “It’s still a mystery to me why they have decided to part and what are the differences.”