Raut on Geete's 'Backstabber' Pawar comments: It's individual's remark, not party's statement
Mumbai/ New Delhi Sep 21: Former Union minister and Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete has kicked off a row saying NCP chief Sharad Pawar had "backstabbed" the Congress to form his party and he cannot be a "guru" for Shivsainiks. He also said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress is just an "adjustment".
In New Delhi, Sena spokesperson and senior party leader Sanjay Raut asserted that Pawar is a leader of the country. He said the MVA government and the arrangement of the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP will continue for five years. "I am not aware of this (Geete's comments). The arrangement in Maharashtra is of three parties. Sharad Pawar is a leader of the country.
"Be it Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray, the Congress...all have formed the (MVA) government. This arrangement will go on for five years and it has acceptance from entire Maharashtra," Raut told reporters in response to a question. He said his party chief Uddhav Thackeray takes decisions for the Shiv Sena.
"At this time we all are together," he added. Pawar is considered the architect and anchor of the MVA government which came to power after the 2019 assembly elections following a fallout between the Sena and the BJP, who had shared power from 2014 to 2019.
He added, "It may be someone's personal opinion but it is not the statement of the party."
Addressing a public rally in his home turf Raigad on Monday, Geete said, "Sharad Pawar cannot ever be our leader as this government (MVA) is merely an adjustment. Let people use as many accolades for Pawar but our 'guru' is only (late) Balasaheb Thackeray."
"As long as this government is functioning, it will go on...If we separate, our home is Shiv Sena and we will always stick with our party," he added.
Geete, a former MP from Raigad, also said he didn't harbour any "ill-intention" towards the Sena-headed government and wanted it to succeed. "Pawar had formed his party by backstabbing Congress. If Congress and NCP cannot become one, the Shiv Sena also cannot toe the Congress policy entirely. Congress and NCP were not cordial always," the Sena leader said.
Pawar was in the news recently when he compared the Congress to an impoverished landlord who cannot look after his house anymore. He had also said that on the issue of leadership, Congress leaders were very "sensitive" and not open to any suggestions.
The NCP was formed on May 25, 1999, by Pawar, P A Sangma, and Tariq Anwar after they were expelled from the Indian National Congress (INC) for disputing the right of Italy-born Sonia Gandhi to lead the party. The NCP later became part of the Congress-led UPA governments at the Centre in which Pawar served as agriculture minister.
In Maharashtra also, the Congress and the NCP shared power till 2014 when the Congress-NCP government was defeated by the BJP. Geete had served as Union minister for heavy industries after the 2014 polls when the Sena was part of the National Democratic Alliance.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he lost to his NCP rival Sunil Tatkare by a thin margin. Tatkare's daughter Aditi is currently a minister of state in the MVA government. PTI ND PR ZMN ZMN