Pawar not to contest Lok Sabha poll

Union Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar, in a two-day meet with party workers, said he would not contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, and that he would instead enter Parliament through the Rajya Sabha.

He also expressed full faith in the power of the Congress to rise from its ashes.

Addressing party workers in the meet organised here, the Maratha strongman said:  “I have decided not to contest the Lok Sabha polls. I want to focus on building the party and have no problems in sitting in the Rajya Sabha.”

For the first time Pawar, one of Maharashtra's most powerful politicians, did not hurl any acid-laced barbs at the Congress. Instead he hinted that the partnership between the two would continue.

“The recent Assembly polls' results will not make much of a dent on the Congress-NCP alliance. Maharashtra is a totally different state with a different psyche altogether.

Something happening elsewhere in the country does not mean it will happen in Maharashtra, too. In fact, look at recent local bodies' election results. We did well in Nandurbar, Akola and Washim, Dhule. They were all retained after the Assembly elections.”

He then reminded the gathering of Indira Gandhi. “Who brought the party back to power from the ashes two years after being wiped out in the 1977 elections .  There is no need to worry,” he said.

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