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Pawar’s Election Symbol ‘Tutari’ Evokes Discordant Notes

NCP founder Sharad Pawar’s decision to unveil the new symbol, Tutari (Tura), allotted to his faction at the historical Fort Raigad has been facing derision from different quarters. Raigad was the place Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had selected for his capital in 1674. Pawar’s one-time confidant Chhagan Bhujbal has reminded his former mentor in an oblique quip that the NCP was formed in 1999 and had lost a substantial chunk of votes since its symbol, wall clock, was unfamiliar for voters. Water resources minister Girish Mahajan said neither will the Tutari make any noise nor will Uddhav Thackeray’s symbol, Mashal, be alight. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray, however, disclosed that this was the first time Pawar had shown any regard for Chhatrapati Shivaji. Though Pawar always praised social reformers like Mahatma Jotiba Phule, Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur or Dr BR Ambedkar in his speeches, the Maratha strongman seldom paid tributes to Chhatrapati Shivaji, Raj remarked. He recalled Pawar telling him on an earlier occasion that he (Pawar) would lose Muslim votes if there was any mention of Chhatrapati Shivaji by him. On his part, Pawar has clarified that the symbol was allotted by the Election Commission and that he had not asked for this particular image of a man sounding a trumpet, called Tutari in Marathi. This is the fifth election symbol Pawar’s party would be using during his long political career.