MUMBAI: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, whose party performed better than its ally Congress in the Maharashtra assembly election 2019, has said that the people's verdict is a lesson for those who said that his days are over.
''People have given an answer to a party and their leader who said that my politics is over. The person who made personal attacks has been taught a lesson by the people of Maharashtra,'' the NCP veteran said.
"People have not accepted the talk of 220 seats (out of 288). The NCP accepts people's mandate humbly. The Congress, NCP, PWP, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and other allies whole-heartedly cooperated with each other. The election result shows people did not like the arrogance of power," Pawar added.
On the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance falling short of its target of winning 220+ seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly, Pawar said that the message is clear that the people did not like "the arrogance of power".
''Whatever has been officially announced, one thing is clear... People have not accepted the 220+ mandate as some people were saying and whatever the people wanted to say they have made it clear,'' the stalwart of Maharashtra politics said while addressing a press conference late on Thursday.
Pawar also praised the Congress party and said that it has really worked hard and congratulated it for its performance in Maharashtra.
''The opposition has worked hard and all members of the Congress-NCP and allies have delivered and given their best and I thank them all... Power comes, power goes but it is important to remain committed to a cause and we thank people for the love they showed,'' he said.
Taking a dig at those who had defected to the BJP ahead of the election but eventually faced defeat, the NCP supremo said, ''One important thing is to be seen that people who left us and went, have not been accepted... Defections have not worked in favour of those who left us.''
"People did not like their act of expediency ahead of the election," he said.
Without naming ex-NCP MP from Satara, Udayanraje Bhosale, who eventually lost in the Satara Lok Sabha byelection, Pawar said people did not like his decision to join the BJP.
'Satara was a seat of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the seat is a matter of pride for every Maharashtrian... But what has happened in Satara has not been accepted by people as they have not accepted the negativity that was spread... We thank people for electing Shrinivas Patil in Satara,'' he said.
Clearly the air, Pawar said that his party will sit in the opposition and expand its base.
''The people have asked the Nationalist Congress Party to remain in opposition,'' Pawar added, stating that it will not try to form a government.
Without naming leaders of the ruling parties, Pawar also observed that some people crossed the limit of holding extreme views".
"People have asked us to sit in the opposition. The thought of trying to get into power doesn't even cross our minds. We will work to expand our base," Pawar added further.
On speculations of joining hands with Shiv Sena, he said, ''I would like to make it clear that no decision has been taken regarding backing Shivsena for the CM post and going with them... We have our own friends in Maharashtra and we will walk with them and support them only... We are firm on our decisions.''
Newly-elected NCP MLAs will meet after Diwali to discuss their future course of action, he said. adding, ''Under Jayant Patil’s leadership we will decide our next course soon...''
Pawar also took a dig at PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for finding time to visit Maharashtra.
''I would like to thank the PM, HM and other leaders of BJP that at least because of the elections they came to Maharashtra to understand the problems of the people... If you want to understand Maharashtra, you should visit Maharashtra once in a while,'' he said.