Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Thursday said his decision to step down from the post was taken for the future of the party and to create a new leadership. Speaking outside the Y B Chavan Centre in the city, where his supporters have been camping to demand his continuation as the party chief, Pawar said he would take a final decision in the next couple of days and the sentiments of party workers will not be ignored. ”I respect your sentiments. I should have discussed my plans with all of you and taken you into confidence. But I know you wouldn’t have allowed me to take the decision (of stepping down as party chief),” the former Union minister told his supporters. He said some party colleagues from outside Maharashtra will meet him on Friday to discuss the issue. ”I will take a final decision in one or two days,” he said. As emotions ran high among his supporters, Pawar tried to pacify them outside the YB Chavan Centre.
The party cadres gathered at the place urged Pawar to appoint a working president of the party, while he himself should continue in the post.
Some of them said Pawar should helm the party at least till 2024 as the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are due, while others said if he did not reconsider his decision, they would resort to hunger strike. Pawar (82) on Tuesday sprang a surprise by announcing his decision to quit as president of the party he founded and headed since 1999 when he left the Congress to chart his own political course. The announcement, made at an event, stumped leaders and workers of the 24-year-old party.