Veteran Indian politician and leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) launched his autobiography, "On My Terms: From the Grassroots to the Corridors of Power" on Friday, a day before his 75th birthday, at an event which was attended by PM Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari among others.
Other dignitaries included Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, LoP Ghulam Nabi Azad, Rahul and Sonia Gandhi and BJP veteran L K Advani.
According to media reports, this book has all it takes to make one a best seller.
From claiming that Gandhi chose PV Narasimha Rao over him for Prime Minister in 1991 to naming several "loyalists of 10 Janpath", Pawar in this tell all book makes several interesting revelations. Although, the book has been deemed telling by most reviewers on the political fronts, it is bound to disappoint some as there is to very little mention about his career as a cricket administrator.
Here are five things that he says in his book.
1. He says "self-styled loyalists of 10 Janpath" convinced Sonia Gandhi to back PV Narasimha Rao over him for the post of Prime Minister.
According to a PTI report, Pawar says,
"Self styled loyalists of 10 Janpath started saying in private conversations that Sharad Pawar's election as prime minister would harm the First Family's interest in view of his young age.
"'Woh Lambi Race Ka Ghoda Hoga' (He will hold the reins for a very long time), they argued. Among them who played a clever trick were M L Fotedar, R K Dhawan, Arjun Singh and V George.
"They convinced Sonia Gandhi that it would be safer for her to back Narasimha Rao because he was old and not in a good shape. Arjun Singh himself aspired to become prime minister and hoped to succeed Rao soon. Anyway, once Sonia Gandhi had bought the coterie's 'bring Rao' argument in 1991, the tide turned against me."
2. Pawar says the Gandhi family did not want to back someone "with an independent mind" as the PM.
The PTI report states that in a meeting brokered between him and Narasimha Rao by P C Alexander, a former principal secretary to Indira Gandhi, he was offered top three portfolios.
"He (Alexander) and I knew that I had been a strong contender but Gandhi family was not to let someone with independent mind to get to the Prime Minister's post," Pawar says.
3. The NCP chief describes the amendment to the Congress Parliamentary Party constitution in the 1990s as "shocking" and how he was "deeply hurt by the decision".
In his book, he writes, "What really took the cake was a shocking amendment to the Congress Parliamentary Party which was brought into effect solely to suit Sonia Gandhi. Though she was the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi was not an MP when I was a Lok Sabha member and CPP leader.
Soon after she assumed the party reins, a meeting of the CPP was called while I was in Mumbai. A decision to amend the Constitution was taken. This was obviously done to remove the obstruction in Sonia Gandhi's path.
I was deeply hurt by the decision. Never before in the Congress party's long history had a person become parliamentary party wing's chief without being a member of Parliament."
4. Speaking about his relationship with the Gandhi, he says that though he was one of the few to invite her to become the Congress President, their relationship was nothing more than "cordial", the report states.
"...there was little warmth between us. At the best our relations were cordial".
"She relied heavily on just two or three people for running the party. There was some uneasiness within the Congress that the party had won the maximum number of Lok Sabha seats from my home state Maharashtra."
5. How the "loyalists" tried to create difference between him and Gandhi.
"The so-called loyalists also drew their attention to the rebellion of some Congress ministers in my Cabinet against me in 1990, when I was Maharashtra's chief minister. The fact that the aborted rebellion was sponsored by Rajiv Gandhi meant that Rajiv too was unhappy with me, they argued. All this talk had desired effect," says Pawar.
Sonia did not say much but the "distrust" was evident. It also found reflections in her actions. "When she and I decided something, she would do exactly opposite. If I selected P C Chacko to open a debate on the party's behalf, she would replace him just because he was supposed to be close to me."