Mumbai: Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil on Wednesday said they would "permanently retire" NCP chief Sharad Pawar from his social and political life after results of the October 21 Assembly elections are out.
Addressing a poll rally for Shiv Sena candidate Prakash Abitkar in Radhanagari tehsil in Kolhapur district, Patil also took potshots at Pawar's party, which is hit by defections.
"We will retire Sharad Pawar permanently from social and political life after results of assembly elections are out," he said. Attacking Pawar, a veteran of more than five decades and the tallest politician from Maharashtra, is part of a poll strategy of BJP brass in a bid to belittle his political legacy. Notably, senior Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde on Tuesday said his party and the NCP will "come together in the future".
Pawar had formed the NCP after quitting the Congress in 1999 following differences with Sonia Gandhi. The NCP patriarch is currently spearheading the campaign for his crisis-hit party, addressing rallies in which he is attacking the BJP over various issues.
Last month, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a case against Pawar, his nephew and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and others, in connection with the alleged Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) scam. The electoral battle for all the 288 seats in the state is mainly playing out between ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance and the Opposition bloc comprising the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Chandrakant Patil is contesting his maiden assembly election from Kothrud in Pune city. His challenger is Kishore Shinde of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) who is backed by the NCP.
"The Congress-NCP combine had planned fielding a strong candidate against me from Kothrud assembly segment. The truth is that they could not even find a single candidate from their own party. I will comfortably win from Kothrud," Patil said. Counting of votes will be taken up on October 24.