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MUMBAI(PTI): Maharashtra politicians across the party lines on Saturday came together and showered praise on the NCP supremo Sharad Pawar who celebrated his 75th birthday here.
“I have seen many ups and downs in life… In the end, it is democracy that matters. One should work toward strengthening it and ensuring that its sanctity endures,” Pawar said, speaking at the function organised by NCP this evening. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray termed Pawar as a person made of “a different chemical.”
“Whether one likes him or not, one gets to learn a lot from him. His contribution is immense…Pawar saheb is a person who is capable of snatching away the sleep of his political opponents,” he said while speaking at the function. “Everybody sees him as a master of something. It is difficult for one person to be good at everything. This is because he is made of a different chemical. He is truly blessed,” Uddhav said.
Senior Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde said, “Once he took me under his wings, I did not even realise when I became the (Union) Home Minister. He will always have Congress within him though he is not with Congress any longer.” Industrialist Rahul Bajaj, known to be a close friend of Pawar’s for a long time, said, “He should be the next President. After all, he was the best Prime Minister that India never had.”
Another state Congress stalwart, Narayan Rane, described Pawar as “a walking-talking encyclopedia” for the young politicians, and someone who has made Maharashtra proud at the national level. “Even when I was with Shiv Sena, I used to feel that there should be a Prime Minister from Maharashtra. I had even spoken to saheb (Bal Thackeray) that I felt that Pawar should be the PM.
MNS president Raj Thackeray said there is an “invisible aura of power” around Pawar, and there is no subject on which the Maratha strongman cannot speak. “He has been gifted by the God. Not everybody can do it. We feel fortunate that Maharashtra has got such a leader,” Raj said.
Maharashtra governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao described the former Chief Minister as “a visionary leader, an organiser, an administrator and a rashtra sevak. “Today we are not only felicitating Pawar but his life dedicated to the welfare of farmers and the agricultural sector, the rise of the co-operative movement,” Rao said.
Sikkim governor Srinivas Patil, former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi, industrialist Mukesh Ambani, actor Nana Patekar, veteran Marathi actress Sulochana and the director Jabbar Patel were also present on the occasion. Earlier in the day, Pawar met the NCP workers who had come here to greet him at Y B Chavan Pratisthan premises. His daughter and Baramati MP Supriya Sule and state NCP leaders accompanied him.