Sharad Pawar' sensational comments: Sonia wanted to become PM in 1999 itself

Raj Thackeray and Sharad Pawar at the interview in BMCC on Wednesday

Raj Thackeray and Sharad Pawar at the interview in BMCC on Wednesday

Only the Congress has the ability to challenge the country's ruling BJP presently, and its "achhe din" will come, predicted Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar on Wednesday.

Sharad Pawar revealed in a recent interview that he quit Congress in 1999 because the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi had staked her claim to the post of Prime Minister after the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government collapsed.

"The culture was that one does not cross a certain limit of ethics". "Had Pawar backed job and education reservations on economic grounds, there wouldn't have been such sharp caste divisions and prolonged enmity between communities in Maharashtra", he said.

35 percent turnout in peaceful Bijepur bypoll till noon
Around 81.86 per cent polling had been recorded in Bijepur Assembly segment in the 2014 election, he said. There are 13 other candidates in the fray including Ashok Panigrahi of BJP and Pranay Sahu of Congress.

The event was held to mark Sharad Pawar's 50 years in electoral politics. But running a state and the governing of a country are two different things. "As a prime minister from Gujarat, he will know Kutch, Surat, Ahmedabad and so on, but may not know the interiors of Kerala or the northeast", Pawar said. "There is a doubt about whether appropriate decisions are being taken in the absence of team work". "Nobody will travel in a bullet train from Mumbai to Ahmedabad", Pawar was quoted by The Times Of India. However, it should run between Mumbai and Delhi or Mumbai and Nagpur.

"People will come to Mumbai and the city will get more crowded".

"Even though the Congress is considerably weakened over the years, Rahul Gandhi has shown willingness to learn and engage with the people.If the people support him, the Congress can be revived and the fact is that a strong opposition is required to strengthen democracy", he said. Given that both Pawar and Thackeray have been critical of the BJP-led state government, they are also expected to launch an offensive against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' administration.

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