"My supporters and voters have been with me for so many years, so I cannot reject their sentiments. I am moved by the love and the trust in me. I am revoking my decision to retire from the post," said Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in a statement to the media, putting an end to three-day long speculations over the party's future.
Sharad Pawar on Friday, 5 May, revoked his resignation from the post of party chief after a committee of senior party leaders passed a resolution to reject it three days after he publicly stepped down.
"My decision to quit created unrest in my supporters and loyalists. They urged me to rethink my decision. My well wishers and party workers who love me and trust me, urged me to take back my decision."Sharad Pawar
His nephew Ajit Pawar, the strongest contender to be next in line for the post, was missing from the media briefing.
‘Can't Stop Anybody From Leaving Party’: What Pawar Said at the Briefing
Addressing the media, Sharad Pawar said that the most important task that weighed on his mind was to bring together Opposition parties ahead of the 2014 elections.
"Many leaders from the other parties including Rahul Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury urged me to continue in order to engineer Opposition unity," he said.
Commenting on the succession plan, Pawar hinted at organisational changes to be made to the party in the near future "for the new generation to be able to succeed him eventually."
Quizzed on the absence of Ajit Pawar from the press conference, Sharad Pawar said that the former was a part of the committee that passed the resolution and nothing more should be made of his absence.
Asked about many leaders wanting to quit to reportedly join hands with the BJP, he said: "I cannot stop anybody who wants to leave the party."
He also said that Ajit did have an idea about his resignation but not the other leaders. "If I had taken other leaders into confidence, I would not have been able to tender my resignation," he said.
Asked about his successor, Sharad Pawar said that every leader sitting by him is capable of running the party and "successors don't get created in parties just like that."
End to 3 Days of Unrest in NCP: Key Developments Today
The NCP cadre that protested across the state was seen rejoicing the decision as party workers danced and celebrated across the state.
Some key events that took place through the day:
A committee of senior leaders appointed to take a decision on appointing a new party chief rejected his resignation from the post.
The resolution passed in the party meeting said: "Shri Sharad Pawar must withdraw his resignation and continue to lead the party at the national level for a few more years."
The meeting was attended by Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule, Chhagan Bhujbal, Praful Patel, Anil Deshmukh, Eknath Khadse, Dilip Walse Patil, Jayant Patil and Sunil Tatkare among others.
The leaders later met Sharad Pawar at his residence and submitted the resolution, following which the supremo asked for more time to rethink.
The protests against the supremo's decision swelled at the YB Chavan Centre in Mumbai on Friday as one party worker also attempted immolating himself.
Sharad Pawar later held a meeting with just Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule, and Chhagan Bhujbal before addressing the media to revoke his decision.