Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, on Saturday, announced Lok Sabha MP and his daughter Supriya Sule and former AIFF chief and party leader Praful Patel as working presidents of the party. He declared it at the 25th anniversary of the party, founded by him and P.A. Sangma in 1999.
While Sule has been given the responsibility of Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Women Youth and Lok Sabha Coordination, Patel will look after Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Goa.
The announcement was made in presence of Ajit Pawar, his nephew and a key player in NCP.
Pawar had, last month, offered to resign from the presidency of the party, but withdrew his resignation because of fervent remonstrations from the party members as well as other political leaders. An NCP panel formed to deliberate on Pawar's offer had on May 5 rejected his resignation and urged him to continue as the party president.
While withdrawing his resignation then, Pawar had said there has to be a succession plan in the NCP and had added that his focus will be on making organisational changes in the party.
Ajit Pawar was, perhaps, the only NCP leader who seemed to be in favour of the senior Pawar's resignation, saying the latter's decision should be seen in the light of his age and health. Interestingly, Ajit Pawar was not present in the press conference where his uncle announced his decision to withdraw his resignation.
Many political experts believe Pawar's resignation saga was to strengthen the position of his daughter Sule, who is likely to be his political heir, in the party.
Sule's appointment as the working president and being given the responsibility of the state, and being made the Lok Sabha face of the NCP, seem to be steps in that direction.