A video and still images of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar addressing a rally in Satara amidst heavy downpour has gone viral on social media since Friday night.
The 79-year-old politician won the heart of the netizens and provided some succour amidst the charges and counter-charges.
Satara is important for the 20-year-old NCP as the party is pitted against colleagues who joined the BJP ahead of the polls. The BJP has fielded Udayanraje Bhosale for the Satara Lok Sabha bypoll and Shivendraraje Bhosale for the Vidhan Sabha elections. While Udayanraje is contesting against NCP's Shrinivas Patil, Shivendraraje is pitted against Deepak Sahebrao Pawar. Udayanraje and Shivendraraje are cousins and descendants of legendary Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Retaining both the seats in Western Maharashtra, the area of influence of the Pawars, and sugarbelt is important for the NCP that is going through rough patch. "The Varun raja is blessing us...this will create a wonder in Maharashtra politics...the beginning will happen from October 21, I am sure of it," Pawar said amidst thunderous applause and making an emotional connection with the people.
The master politician, who is in public life for over five decades, has never lost an election. He said, "Satara Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections are important for us...we have to ensure that Srinivas Patil and Deepak Pawar wins."
The four-time Maharashtra chief minister, ex-leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, who has held key ministries in the Centre like defence and agriculture, won massive praise on the social media. "Satara is again creating history....the NCP got a new energy," Pawar's daughter and Baramati MP Supriya Sule said.
Pawar, often described as the Maratha strongman, has been facing massive attacks from the BJP. Pawar's nephew and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar is contesting the family seat of Baramati in Pune district and grandnephew Rohit Pawar is fighting elections from Jamkhed-Karjat in Pune district. Ajit's son Parth Pawar had lost the Lok Sabha polls from Maval. In fact, Saheb, as he is popularly called, is holding the fort for the Congress-NCP alliance.