Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar addressed a campaign rally during a heavy downpour in Satara, ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly election and a Lok Sabha by-election on 21 October. During his brief speech, the 78-year-old Pawar, who got completely drenched, said he had committed "a mistake" in selecting candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in May this year, and now people were waiting for it to be corrected.
The NCP had fielded Udayanraje Bhosale, the descendant of Shivaji Maharaj, from the Satara Parliamentary seat. Bhosale, who won the seat, quit the party ahead of Assembly polls and joined the BJP, which has fielded him for the by-election. The NCP has now fielded Shrinivas Patil against Bhosale.
In the rally on Friday, Pawar said, "When one makes a mistake, one should admit it. I made a mistake while selecting the candidate for the Lok Sabha poll. I accept this publicly. But I am happy that to correct the mistake, every young and old person in Satara is waiting for 21 October."
His statement on Friday came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed the NCP president by saying that he lacked the courage to contest the Lok Sabha polls from the constituency.
Patil, who is contesting against Bhosale, is a former Indian Administrative Service officer and the Governor of Sikkim (1 July 2013 " 26 August 2018).
Despite heavy rainfall, Pawar addressed the crowd and said, "The rain god has blessed the NCP for the 21 October election. And with the blessings of the rain god, Satara district will create a miracle in Maharashtra. That miracle will begin from 21 October."
He drew applause from the crowd and praise from netizens on Twitter for continuing his speech despite getting completely soaked in rain.
"Not all battles are fought for Victory. Some are fought simply to tell the world that someone was there on the battlefield"
" Alok Shinde (@alokshinde) October 18, 2019
The 80 year old @PawarSpeaks addressing rally in heavy rain in Satara pic tells that, why Sharad Pawar directly & indirectly ruled the Maharashtra & kept himself relevant since last 50 years in politics. There is no substitute to hard work #MaharashtraAssemblyElections2019 pic.twitter.com/toeGUpN2aR " Sudhir Suryawanshi (@ss_suryawanshi) October 18, 2019
" Pritesh Shah (@priteshshah_) October 18, 2019
" Aavishkar (@aavishhkar) October 18, 2019
Pawar also criticised Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for stating that "no wrestler from the opposition parties" was in sight during the Assembly elections. "The chief minister says no wrestler is in sight. It doesn't suit the people in the BJP to talk about wrestling and wrestlers," he quipped.
With inputs from agencies