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NCP to celebrate Sharad Pawar’s half century in politics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As NCP supremo Sharad Pawar is completing 50 years in politics, his party has planned a string of events across Maharashtra and other parts of the country to celebrate his eventful career which saw his rise from the grassroots to prominent state and national slots.Yashvantrao Chavan Pratishthan, headed by his daughter Supriya Sule (47), is holding events in February at Pune and Mumbai to mark the anniversary.The period had witnessed many changes in politics of the nation, including major splits in Congress, in some of which the 76-year-old leader himself played a central role.The “Maratha Strongman”, as he is often referred to by friends and rivals, plunged into politics as a grassroots worker in home turf Baramati in western Maharashtra in 1960s, and grew up under the tutelage of the late Y B Chavan.A hub of co-operatives which are crucial in the state politics, western Maharashtra has always been a fertile ground for youngsters to learn the ropes in politics.A player for all seasons, his name has since then been synonymous with power politics, both in Maharashtra and at the Centre.After his first election to the Maharashtra Assembly in 1967, Pawar has never lost any electoral contest, a feat which has eluded many of his contemporaries.After scoring his maiden victory, young Pawar was inducted as a junior minister. He was elevated to the Cabinet rank and over the years held several key portfolios in the state. In 1978, he became the youngest Chief Minister of Maharashtra at 38, a post at which he had three more stints.Pawar, who floated a separate outfit after breaking away from Congress, called Congress (S), returned to the parent party in 1986 at an event in Aurangabad in presence of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.Since his maiden Lok Sabha poll victory in 1984, Pawar has remained a key player in national politics. His prime ministerial ambitions, however, were cut short as Congress chose P V Narasimha Rao for the post, after the elections that followed the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.Industrialist Rahul Bajaj put it succintly, during an event in Delhi to celebrate Pawar’s 75th birthday, saying the Maratha strongman was the “best PM the country never had”.During the NDA regime, Pawar headed the joint parliamentary committee probing higher amount of pesticide content in soft drinks in 2003. Pawar has always maintained cordial relations with leaders cutting across political divides, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many top leaders from the left, right and the centre.In 1991, Pawar became Defence Minister in the Narasimha Rao Cabinet. He faced allegations of diverting defence land to builders. He was also accused of ferrying alleged aides of Dawood Ibrahim in his official plane.During Pawar’s last stint as Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mumbai was rocked by serial bomb blasts in March, 1993 followed by the Gowari stampede in 1994 in Nagpur.After parting ways with Sonia Gandhi over the foreign origin issue, Pawar in 1999 formed the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). His party, however, struck alliance with Congress and ruled Maharashtra for 15 years till the BJP-led government came to power in 2014.In 2014, Pawar got elected to the Rajya Sabha, enabling his daughter Supriya to contest from his Baramati Lok Sabha seat.Pawar has also occupied key positions on the cricket board, including that of BCCI and ICC President, besides other sports associations.As the veteran politician is set to complete half a century of public life, the question being asked is who will be his political heir.The query was recently put to none other than Supriya, an NCP MP, and pat came the reply “time will decide”.”For Yashwantrao Chavan (first Chief Minister of Maharashtra), Pawarsaheb was his ‘manasputra’ (political heir). However, time will decide who will be his (Pawar’s) political heir in future,” Supriya added.

Fadnavis fights like women squabbling over water at community taps: MP Supriya Sule makes jibe at CM’s ‘short temper’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a jibe at Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for being “short-tempered”, NCP MP Supriya Sule has said that he “fights like the way women squabble over water at community taps”.Addressing women workers of NCP in Maval tehsil of Pune district last evening, Sule, the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, said “she would prefer to wear a helmet when meeting him because he might throw something at her in anger.””The Chief Minister is short-tempered and does not listen to anyone as his temper is always high, and he fights like women, the way they do over water taps,” the Baramati MP said.”I have seen so many Chief Ministers, but never such a short-tempered Chief Minister. I will wear a helmet when I go to meet him because I am scared that he might throw something in anger at me,”said Sule, herself a former chief minister’s daughter.She also asked the journalists present at the programme to convey her message to Fadnavis that he should control his temper.

Not happy with Maharashtra performance in tackling drought: Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on said he was not satisfied with the performance of the BJP-led government, of which his party is also a constituent, pertaining to drought mitigation.”I am unhappy with the government’s performance about drought work. However, it’s time to help out people in crisis and not to blame government,” Thackeray said.The Sena chief was on tour of Osmanabad district in worst-hit Marathwada region. On the occasion, he dedicated to people the ‘Shiv Jal Kranti’ water conservation project in Paranda tehsil.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The project covers 78 villages in the district. He took a dig at NCP MP Supriya Sule over her tour of the region recently. “Maharashtra has a 137-year-old history of drought. However, the previous governments failed to work effectively.Recently, an NCP leader came here in a big van on drought tour. NCP was in power for last 15 years. Had it worked well this situation would not have arrived,” Thackeray said.

Maharashtra parties squabble for credit as Centre lifts ban on jallikattu

The Union government on Friday lifted the ban on races involving bulls.While Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana has a tradition of organising bullock cart races, Tamil Nadu is famous for Jallikattu, a popular bull taming sport.The Supreme Court had in 2014 ordered that the controversial bull races be banned, after animal rights activists approached courts at various levels demanding the same.The union environment ministry has now modified a 2011 notification, which prohibited use of bulls as performing animals in exhibitions, to make an exception and allow the use of bulls in events such as Jallikattu.The Centre’s decision is largely viewed as a populist move. Environment minister Prakash Javadekar himself was keen on satisfying the aspiration of a section of the people, including farmers and bullock-cart owners’ association. In Tamil Nadu, where the Assembly elections are round the corner, the BJP is keen on reaping poll benefits with this decision.However, the decision has made political parties in state bullish, with leaders claiming credit for the Centre’s decision.It was Shirur MP Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil of Shiv Sena who had moved court against the bullock-cart race ban and even approached high court and Apex court. He had made various representations to the earlier UPA government as well. After NDA came to power, he had taken a delegation of bullock-cart owners’ association to meet Prakash Javadekar.BJP state unit has issued a press release, claiming that it was the efforts and follow-up on part of party state chief Raosaheb Danve that the ban has been lifted.Meanwhile, Baramati MP Supriya Sule of NCP also patted herself on the back and has thanked minister Javadekar for the decision.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>