30 months ago, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar was the toast of Maharashtra and nation’s non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politics. His effort, at resuscitating his own party and then stitching an unlikely coalition with the Shiv Sena and ally Congress, to keep the BJP out of power was hailed. A new template for the country’s opposition was discovered. So was a new, old leader who could stitch a similar combination and succeed where others had failed—in taking on the BJP.
the last few days, as the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has come undone, much of the attention has been focused on its chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and his fate, as his party splits
But, Pawar’s fate is as unclear, if not more and the sudden collapse of the government of which he, famously, was the sutradhar, has thrown open fresh and existential questions for Pawar—about his party’s future, its leadership and his own legacy. Indications are, after Thackeray, Pawar and the NCP will be the possible target of a ‘clampdown’ by the ruling BJP, through various means. With the government gone, Pawar will face a tough test to protect his turf, his party and his legacy.