- Sharad Pawar does a U-turn on contesting Lok Sabha elections
- "I already have contested 14 times in the past," Sharad Pawar said
- NCP had cleared the decks for his contest from Madha seat in Maharashtra
Veteran politician Sharad Pawar today did a U-turn on contesting the coming Lok Sabha elections, saying he has decided against the idea. The 78-year former Union minister, who retired from electoral politics in 2012, had created a stir last month announcing a reprise. The party had cleared the decks for his contest from the Madha seat in southwest Maharashtra, convincing sitting lawmaker Vijaysinh Mohite Patil to give up the seat.
But today, at a press conference, Mr Pawar told reporters that he has changed his mind, hinting that family compulsions played a role.
"I thought that already two members of my family are contesting polls this time and hence I felt this is right time to take decision to not contest, since I already have contested 14 times in the past," he said.
Mr Pawar's daughter, Supriya Sule, is already a lawmaker and will be contesting again.
The second member he was referring to is his grandnephew Parth Pawar, son of NCP leader Ajit Pawar.
NCP insiders said Mr Pawar's earlier decision to contest, announced on February 20th, was partly to checkmate the entry of Parth. But today's announcement indicated that the move was not successful.
Mr Pawar said most of the party members want Parth to contest from Mawal seat. "I believes new generation should be given a chance", Mr Pawar said.
Under the seat sharing agreement with the Congress, Mr Pawar's NCP will get 22 of Maharashtra's 48 seats and the larger share, 26 seats, would go to the Congress.
In the 2014 election, the NDA had won 41 seats, and the Congress-NCP combine just six.