You have to hand it to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar. He almost never loses his temper: But when he does, he does it to great effect, and without raising his voice.
At a recent press conference, a journalist asked him a question: Not only were NCP leaders deserting his party and joining the BJP but even his relatives (natibhai). The reference was to Padamsinh Patil, a relative. Pawar, who started the press conference with utmost cordiality, lost his temper. “Why are you asking me about my relatives?” he asked the reporter. “We can talk about politics but how does my family relationship come into the picture?” Padamsinh Patil, eight-time ex-MLA from Osmanabad, is related to party strongman Ajit Pawar and, by extension, to Sharad Pawar. The reporter repeated his question. Pawar got up to leave. “Next time please call reporters who are a bit more civilised,” he told the organisers, who pleaded with him to stay.
But Pawar’s fury had not ebbed. “I have seen times when I had 60 MLAs in the assembly and 52 left the party. It was politics, they left me, but then they returned,” observed the man who is, arguably, the maker of modern Maharashtra. The reporter would not stop. Pawar got up to leave a second time, and then, in a gesture only he can make, folded his hands to the reporter and said: “You should go. You are lowering the level of the discourse.” Then, he continued with his answer: “People have left, and more might leave. He (Patil) has said nothing about any disrespect from the NCP or me. But he may be getting from the other side what he has not got from the NCP for 10 or 15 years. It is not a push factor, it is a pull factor.”