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'Sharad Pawar is a dictator'

April 22, 2009
Prasanna Zore and photographer Sanjay Sawant encounter a very angry rebel in Kolhapur, western Maharashtra.

Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party is likely to face a rough weather in the Lok Sabha election contest in Kolhapur. The seeds of discontent grew after Pawar denied a re-nomination to a confidant, three-time Kolhapur MP Sadashiv Mandlik.

Mandlik is contesting as an Independent candidate with support from the Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, Janata Dal-Secular, Peasants and Worker's Party, People's Republic Party (a breakaway faction of the Republican Party of India).

An NCP official in Kolhapur, speaking on condition of anonymity, told that Mandlik was sidelined because of age and ill health. Ever since this snub from his political mentor Mandlik has turned his wrath on Pawar.

In an exclusive interview to at his plush bungalow in Kolhapur's Ruikar Colony, Mandlik heaped scorn against Pawar. The NCP supremo, who has been spoken of as a future prime minister by Naveen Patnaik and Jayalalitha, Mandlik, says is a mean man who can never become PM even if his party wins all 22 seats it is contesting from Maharashtra.

He thinks Pawar made a huge mistake by giving the Kolhapur ticket to political non-entity Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati.

Image: Sadashiv Mandlik, the Independent Lok Sabha candidate from Kolhapur, addresses a rally outside the main bus stand.

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