Goa NCP’s ‘kingmaker’ defends his role

June 10th, 2009 - 11:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, June 10 (IANS) Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s close aide Prafulla Hede, whose alleged interference in the party’s Goa affairs has triggered an exodus of its executive members, Wednesday defended his role of a “kingmaker” in the state unit.
Former NCP state unit president Wilfred D’Souza, who resigned from the primary membership of the party Tuesday, had accused Hede of being an extra-constitutional authority whose presence was detrimental to the party.

But Hede, a Goa-based mine owner, told reporters Wednesday evening that Pawar had asked him to act as a “coordinator” between the party’s central leadership and the state unit.

“I am not a member of the party. My job is just to coordinate between the central and state leaders. I do not wish to have any position in the party,” Hede said, replying in affirmative when asked if he was in the position of a kingmaker in the Goa NCP.

Hede also accused D’Souza of not being able to hold his flock together and criticised the former chief minister’s role as the head of the party unit.

“Why has D’Souza not been able to keep the three NCP legislators in his confidence? Why are there so many issues between the legislature wing and the executive committee?” he asked.

The party’s state unit is expected to meet next week to decide on the course of action after 30 out of its 37 executive committee members resigned Tuesday. Senior members of the executive committee had accused Pawar of being anti-Catholic and communal.

“We were in the process of reoragnising the party. The NCP will lay stress on the youth from now on. D’Souza was aware of that, perhaps his resignation was pre-emptive in nature,” NCP leader Jitendra Deshprabhu told reporters.

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