National Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Thursday expelled 12 rebel leaders including his nephew Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel from the party and said he is still effective even at his age.
His remarks came after Ajit Pawar urged his 83-year-old uncle to “take rest” and retire.
“I am still effective, whether I am 82 or 92,” Sharad told reporters in New Delhi after a key meeting of NCP leaders.
The former union minister said today’s meeting will be helpful in boosting his party’s spirits and highlighted that he is still the NCP president.
“I am happy that except for those who were expelled, others came for the meeting in such a short time. The mindset of all our comrades was to take the party ahead firmly. I am happy that today’s meeting will be helpful in boosting our spirits… I am the President of NCP, if anyone is making such a claim then there is no truth in it,” he said.
In his communication to the Election Commission of India, Ajit Pawar claimed that he is the president of the NCP and he has the support of majority of party MLAs in Maharashtra.
The NCP, founded by Sharad Pawar in 1999, witnessed a split on July 2 with Ajit Pawar, claiming the support of over 40 MLAs and joining the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition government in Maharashtra. Nine NCP MLAs, including Ajit Pawar, were sworn-in as ministers in the Maharashtra government at a surprise cabinet expansion.
Earlier, Ajit Pawar urged his 83-year-old uncle to “take rest” and retire. Speaking at the meeting convened by him in suburban Bandra as a show of strength, Ajit said BJP leaders retire at 75 and asked the NCP supremo to step down stating “Are you going to stop or not?”
“In BJP, leaders retire at 75. Give us blessings. If we are wrong, tell us our mistake. But who is this being done for? Why is this happening? Is it our mistake that we were not born to some people? Are you going to stop or not? You are 83,” he said.
Sharad Pawar dismissed suggestions that the NCP had diminished in strength after the rebellion.
“What do you mean by diminished? If some people leave a party, it has happened in other political parties as well, it doesn’t mean the party has diminished. As I said we will rebuild our party,” he said.