October 31, 2019 3:06:13 am
Former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar was Wednesday unanimously re-elected the leader of the NCP’s legislative party at the meeting of the newly-elected MLAs in Mumbai, clearing the path for his elevation as Leader of Opposition in the Assembly.
A resurgent NCP emerged as the largest opposition bloc in the 288-member House after it wrested 54 seats, up from the 41 seats it had won in 2014 election. The Congress, which held the LoP post in the outgoing House, marginally improved its performance by adding two more seats to its kitty (44) from previous 42. The BJP won 105 seats from the 122 it had won in2014 polls, and the Shiv Sena 56 seats, a loss of seven seats.
Soon after his election, Pawar said the party would be aggressive in raising issues of job losses and agrarian distress that has been affecting large parts of the state. Reiterating that the NCP will sit in the Opposition, he said, “They (BJP-Sena) need to form the government. We will be sitting in the Opposition. The state is going through a difficult time, the unseasonal rains have created a wet drought in the state. We will need to take up issues that are affecting people.”
On Wednesday, his name was proposed by party’s state unit chief Jayant Patil and seconded by four senior NCP leaders Nawab Malik, Jitendra Awhad, Dhananjay Munde and Hasan Mushrif in presence of party president Sharad Pawar, MPs Supriya Sule, Sunil Tatkare, Amol Kolhe and Shriniwas Patil.
In the October 21 Assembly elections, Ajit Pawar won from Baramati Assembly segment for the sixth term with a record margin of 1,65,265 votes, while his nearest rival, Gopichand Padalkar of the BJP, bagged just 30,376 votes.
Addressing the gathering of the newly-elected MLAs, Sharad Pawar said that with the increased mandate, the responsibility of the party legislators had also increased. Criticising the BJP for cloaking all issues that affected the common man in the garb of nationalism, the NCP chief said, “If you can’t fulfil the promises that you make to the electorate then you start cloaking them under the garb of nationalism. If we raise issues of unemployment and farm distress, they speak about Article 370. For important questions that affect the day-to-day life of the people, Article 370 can’t be the answer,” he said.
Pawar was also critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement during an election rally in Maharashtra where he said the Opposition should drown in shame for questioning the linking of Article 370 and the Maharashtra elections.
“The PM says ‘Doob Maro’. This is not the language that we use against opponents. This government wants to divert the attention of people from core issues. They are not serious about addressing the problems of people. As opposition members we need to raise the problems of the people and create a movement for the welfare of citizens,” Pawar said.
An NCP delegation will meet the Governor Thursday to seek relief for farmers who have been affected by unseasonal rains. There has been massive crop damage in areas like Konkan, Vidarbha and Marathwada due to unseasonal rainfall.
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