Ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly elections NCP chief Sharad Pawar withstood heavy rains and addressed a campaign rally, all drenched on Friday evening at Satara as an answer to accusation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not having courage to contest the Lok Sabha election from the constituency just a day back. A video of Pawar admitting that he made a “mistake” in choosing the candidate from Satara during the Lok Sabha Elections has gone viral.

Earlier, on Thursday PM Modi said, “They don’t even have the courage to contest even Lok Sabha elections from Satara,” while speaking at a rally in Satara pointing at NCP patriarch.

On Wednesday, at Akola while launching a stinging attack on the opposition over the Centre’s decision to scrap Article 370 and accused it of indulging in “political opportunism”, Modi targeted Pawar.  He said, “For political gains, some are openly saying that Article 370 has nothing to do in Maharashtra Assembly polls and that J-K has nothing to do with Maharashtra. I want to tell such people that J-K and its people are also sons of Bharat Mata,” Modi lashed out at the Congress and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who had accused the ruling BJP of diverting attention from its failures in the two states of Maharashtra and J-K by referring to the abrogation of Article 370 in its polls campaign.

During his brief speech, the 78-year-old NCP chief, who got completely drenched in the rain, said he committed “a mistake” in selecting candidate for the Lok Sabha earlier this year, but people were now waiting to correct it.

“The rain god has blessed the NCP for the October 21 election. And with the blessings of the rain god, Satara district will create a miracle in Maharashtra. That miracle will begin from October 21,” Pawar told the gathering.

Pawar added, “When one makes a mistake, one should admit it. I made a mistake while selecting candidate for the Lok Sabha poll. I accept this publicly. But I am happy that to correct the mistake, every young and old person in Satara is waiting for October 21.”

He even targeted Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for stating that “no wrestler from the opposition parties” was in sight during the Assembly elections.

“The chief minister says no wrestler is in sight. It doesn’t suit the people in the BJP to talk about wrestling and wrestlers,” he added.

The NCP had fielded Udayanraje Bhosale, descendant of Shivaji Maharaj, from the Satara Parliamentary seat. Bhosale, who won the seat, quit the party ahead of Assembly polls and joined the BJP, which has fielded him for the by-election. The NCP has now fielded Shrinivas Patil against Bhosale.

The western Maharashtra constituency of Satara, NCP stronghold so far, is where a Lok Sabha bypoll will be held along with the state Assembly elections on October 21. The seat has been with the NCP for five terms — 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019.

The veteran leader won accolades on the social media for addressing the election rally while it was raining, as the video of his speech went viral.

“Even Rain cannot stop him. Powerfull Sharad Pawar The Firm,Fighter,Stable,Strong,” wrote one Twitter user.

Another twitterati wrote, “#SharadPawar His speech in the torrential rain shows that ” Man can be destroyed but not defeated”. I salute the fighting spirit of @PawarSpeaks . This will inspire many generations in Maharashtra.”

Yet another post read, “After long time a politician does the justice of his role.
Not all battles are fought for Victory. Some are fought simply to tell the world that someone was there on the battlefield” A True Warrior !! Great Maratha !#Respect #SharadPawar ji. Iconic photo delivering speech in rain”

One social media user wrote “There is no substitute to hard work”.

(With inputs from PTI)