Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today termed as “unfortunate” the NCP chief and veteran politician Sharad Pawar not becoming first Prime Minister hailing from the state when he was at peak of his political career.
Both Houses of state legislature today extended warm greetings to the Maratha strongman, having a political career of nearly five decades, who turned 75 recently.
While Fadnavis, also Leader of House, moved a resolution congratulating Pawar in Legislative Assembly, the same was moved in the Legislative Council by the Leader of House and Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse.
“It was unfortunate that Pawar could not get the opportunity to become the first Marathi-speaking Prime Minister when he reached the pinnacle of his political career spanning 48 years. He could have been the first Marathi- speaking Prime Minister,” Fadnavis said while lauding Pawar for his “political acumen and administrative capabilities”.
Members cutting across party lines echoed Fadnavis.
Prominent among them to hail Pawar, who turned 75 on December 12, were the Leader of Opposition, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil (Congress), Jitendra Awhad (NCP), PWD Minister Eknath Shinde (Shiv Sena), Sharad Sonone (MNS), Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP), Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde (BJP).
How Pawar, the erstwhile Congressman, missed the opportunity to become PM has always been a topic of intense political discussions.
In his book ‘Life on my terms – From the Grassroots and Corridors of Power’, Pawar had revealed how Congress president Sonia Gandhi was opposed to his becoming the prime minister in 1991 as she did not want “someone with an independent mind” at the helm.
Fadnavis said Pawar enjoys good relations with leaders cutting across political parties.
“Pawar always believed in and has maintained cordial relationship with political opponents since he was of the opinion that we are not political enemies.
“We are fortunate in Maharashtra to have good relations with all political parties unlike in some states in South India where the situation is quite different,” the CM said.
He said Pawar has held various positions in state politics since he started his political career in 1967.
“Right from a minister, who has helmed various
portfolios, to become Chief Minister…Pawar moved to Central politics where he went on to become Defence Minister and later agriculture minister (sic),” the CM added.
Fadnavis recalled that Pawar was felicitated by the state legislature on November 27, 1990 when he turned 50.
“Pawar is associated with many social, educational and sports (associations) and was at the helm of affairs in Board of Control for Cricket in India, Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India and State Wresting Association,” the CM said.
Winding up the discussion which lasted for over two hours, Speaker Haribhau Bagde also joined the MLAs in congratulating Pawar.