New Delhi: The saga of political rebels in Maharashtra is not new, with one rebellion in 1978 seeing the now NCP supremo Sharad Pawar breaking away from his party to become the state’s youngest Chief Minister.
Soon after the Emergency was lifted in 1977, the Congress split into two – the Congress (I), headed by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Congress (Urs), headed by then Karnataka Chief Minister D. Devraj Urs. But after the Maharashtra Assembly election in 1978, both joined hands to keep the Janata Party out of power, by forming a government under Vasantdada Patil.
However, on July 18, 1978, Pawar, who had joined the Congress (Urs) with his mentor Y.B. Chavan and had become a minister in the Patil government, broke away from his party and took the help of the Janata Party to become the Chief Minister at the age of 38.
While his first term lasted only till 1980, he became the Chief Minister twice more. Pawar rejoined Congress in 1986 but split the party in 1999 when Sonia Gandhi took over as party President to protest her foreign origin and formed the Nationalist Congress Party.
Born in Pune’s Baramati in 1940, Pawar has seen many ups and downs in politics but the way he rebelled against Vasantdada Patil seems replicated in the manner his nephew Ajit Pawar or “Dada ” as he is called in the NCP, went with the BJP – but not for the top post.
The junior Pawar had to settle as Deputy Chief Minister, the same post he had held earlier in the Congress-NCP government.
The Shiv Sena has also seen rebellion within when former Chief Minister Narayan Rane broke away to join the Congress, and recently, the BJP.