Holding positions of power has become a matter of habit for Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar. After getting elected for the first time to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 1967, Pawar has not looked back since, being elected seven times as member of both the houses of the state legislature and six times as MP. He has the distinction of being the only politician to become Chief Minister of Maharashtra four times.
But during his youthful days such a chequered political career in the future was a distant dream waiting to be fulfilled. Interesting anecdotes from his close compatriots, political observers and colleagues reveals a different facet of Pawar’s personality.
Agriculturist to the core, he has a passion, commitment and deep understanding of the subject. According to close associates, during Pawar’s youth, his family and locals of Baramati would get to see fruits like sweet lime, oranges, etc. only when someone in their neighbourhood used to fall ill. Today Baramati and western Maharashtra boasts of exporting grapes (a seedless variety is even named as Sharad seedless after him), strawberries and other fruits not just in India but also abroad.
Behind this character of steel lies a witty personality. According to his close associates, Pawar got rather irked by people claiming that they shared the same bench at their Baramati school. Their numbers grew so large that Pawar was once prompted to sarcastically remark, “It seems the bench that I used to sit on in school was rather too long, otherwise how come so many people happened to share the same small bench with me!”
Another trait of his personality that many of his associates and political compatriots acknowledge is his tremendous ability to remember and recall minute details of persons and party cadres. This ability is said to be unmatched and has been one of many facets of his success story, which even critics admire.