MUMBAI: Jolted by the sudden exit from the party and the Lok Sabha of its founder member Tariq Anwar, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Friday called the decision "unfortunate" but said it did not signify that the party "is finished".
"Our President Sharad Pawar indirectly gave a clean chit to PM (Narendra Modi) on the Rafale deal. The PM is completely involved in the deal. The opposition is demanding a JPC to probe it. I am upset with his statements," Anwar said after his resignation.
Senior NCP leader Praful Patel said: "It is his decision but the issue on which he quit is wrong. Leaders come and go. It (resignation) is an irresponsible step, but it doesn't mean NCP is finished.
"He should have first called up Pawar and clarified his views. Merely levelling allegations is not proper. He has taken the step without consulting any leader or the party," Patel said.
However, he said the party would try to speak with Anwar but the resignation from the Lok Sabha was a different issue.
"We are surprised but sad at the same time. We want to clarify that Anwar who was with the party since its birth and was a founder... you have left suddenly and in this fashion without any discussion with the leadership. It is not correct," Patel said.
Without naming Anwar, NCP MP Supriya Sule termed it as "disappointing" that people had not heard what her father Pawar spoke in the interview to a Marathi TV news channel News18-Lokmat, aired on September 26.
"Pawar raised three questions: 1. What is the justification for a 300 percent price increase from Rs 526 crore to Rs 1,670 crore which potentially could be a significant loss to the exchequer, 2. if such doubts have been raised and the government is so confident, then why are they shying from setting up a JPC, and 3. when the BJP raised both price and specification issues during Bofors allegations, then whey are they hiding behind artificial justification of secrecy of agreements vis-a-vis both commercial price and offset agreements," said Sule.
Earlier in the day, Anwar, 67, quit from the party and his Lok Sabha seat, stunning political circles, He along with Pawar and the late P. A. Sangma had broken away from the Congress to launch the NCP in 1999 in Mumbai.
One of the closest confidants of Pawar, Anwar, who hails from Bihar, has been a member of the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha for nearly four decades.