regular-article-logo Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Ajit Pawar skips NCP convention in Mumbai, attends events in Pune

No need to speculate, Pawar told reporters that one has to choose between two events happening at the same time

PTI Mumbai Published 21.04.23, 08:52 PM
Ajit Pawar

Ajit Pawar File picture

Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar on Friday skipped a meeting of his party’s Mumbai unit raising eyebrows in political circles as speculation about his next political move refuses to die down.

Speaking to reporters in Pune, Pawar played down the buzz saying that he was unable to attend the NCP convention as he had to remain present for some other programmes happening at the same time. He said nothing much should be read into this. BJP said Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders were defaming him and questioning his credibility.


The daylong meeting in Mumbai was addressed by party chief Sharad Pawar and other senior leaders like Praful Patel, Jitendra Awhad, Supriya Sule, Chhagan Bhujbal and state president Jayant Patil.

Praful Patel said Mumbai and Thane region have 60 Assembly seats and NCP must do well in this belt if it has to emerge as the number one party in the state. In the 2019 state elections, the party had won 54 seats in the 288-member Assembly.

Awhad said the party can do well if civic elections are fought under the leadership of Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray in an alliance.

NCP, Congress and the Shiv Sena under Thackeray were part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government that collapsed last year following a rebellion by Eknath Shinde, who later joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to become the chief minister.

NCP has fought elections in Mumbai in alliance with the Congress with mixed results, said Jayant Patil. "We also have to renew efforts to strengthen ourselves at the grassroots and connect with people on issues of housing and basic amenities,” he said.

In Pune, Ajit Pawar told reporters that one has to choose between two events happening at the same time. “There is no need to speculate,” he said.

Intense speculation is going on in Maharashtra's political circles about Ajit Pawar's growing proximity with the ruling BJP.

Earlier, the NCP also said that Ajit Pawar’s inability to attend the party meeting does not mean he is planning to quit the organisation.

Talking about his absence at the meeting, NCP spokesman Clyde Crasto said the party's Mumbai event was planned a month ago.

“Ajitdada is continuously busy and he has accepted invitations to several programmes in Pune. He expressed his inability to attend (the NCP meet). All leaders have their schedule to follow. Just because they are unable to attend one function, it does not mean they are planning to quit. He was present along with (Sharad) Pawar saheb for an ‘iftar’ party earlier this week in Mumbai,” Crasto said.

Rumours about Ajit Pawar's next political move started swirling last week when he suddenly cancelled his scheduled meetings and also made comments which were seen as being soft on the BJP and CM Shinde’s camp.

The Shinde-led Shiv Sena has said that it won’t be a part of the government in Maharashtra if Ajit Pawar joins the BJP with a group of NCP leaders.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut added to the speculation when he wrote in his weekly column in party mouthpiece Saamana last Sunday that Sharad Pawar recently told Thackeray that there is a lot of pressure on some individuals to break ranks. Families are being targeted but even if individuals take a different stand, NCP as a party will never go with the BJP, he wrote referring to the senior Pawar.

Ajit Pawar has clarified that he will remain with the NCP.

Sharad Pawar on Tuesday dismissed the speculation about his nephew Ajit Pawar’s next political move. He said Ajit Pawar was busy with the party's work and there was no need for the media to drag the issue.

State BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Friday said MVA leaders were defaming Ajit Pawar and questioning his credibility.

“They are posing questions on the credibility of Pawar. From the early morning swearing in (when Pawar broke ranks and allied with Devendra Fadnavis in 2019) till now, question marks are being raised on his life, stand and work,” Bawankule told reporters, adding he had not met Ajit Pawar in the last three months.

Bawankule also junked media reports that 13 NCP MLAs are in touch with the BJP.

On November 23, 2019, Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were sworn in as chief minister and deputy CM, respectively, but the government fell without proving its majority on November 28.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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