After the State NCP leaders made unsuccessful attempts to bring party’s breakaway leader Ajit Pawar back to party fold during the last three days, it was ultimately party chief Sharad Pawar’s wife Pratibha Pawar who played a key role in prevailing upon him to resign as the Deputy Chief Minister and return to the parent party.
Informed sources in the NCP said on Tuesday that Pratibha, who had never taken part in the political activities of Sharad during the latter’s 52-year-old career, met Ajit with the help of her son-in-law Sadhananda Sule, husband of Pawars’ only daughter Supriya Sule, at an undisclosed location and succeeded in persuading Jr Pawar to return to the NCP.
Ajit is the son of Sharad’s elder brother Anantrao Pawar, a filmmaker. He lost his father at an early age and he was brought up by Sharad and Pratibha like their son.
Ajit’s resignation as the Deputy CM and return to the NCP fold came as a big relief to the NCP and Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in general and Pawar family in particular.
Ajit was being persuaded by his cousin Supriya Sule, Sr Pawar’s grand nephew Rohit Pawar and various senior NCP leaders. Interestingly enough, Ajit — who had earlier in the afternoon handed over his resignation to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis prompting the latter to put in his papers leading to the collapse of the 80-hour-long Government — called on NCP chief Sharad late on Tuesday night, at the latter’s “Silver Oak” residence in south Mumbai.
It was Supriya, who greeted him at the entrance of Sr Pawar’s residence.
This was the first time that Ajit met Sharad after he broke away from the NCP and joined hands with the BJP.
Though Sharad has been upset with Ajit, he had never spoken against him during the last three days. All Sharad had done was to rubbish the “misleading” claims by his nephew Ajit that he was still with the parent party and charged that the breakaway group leader was trying to create “confusion” and “false perception” in the minds of the people.
Pratibhatai was very upset that Ajit had chosen to move away from the Pawar family and joined hands with the BJP. “Ever since he was sworn in as the Deputy CM in the BJP-led Government, Pratibha was keeping a close watch on the political developments. As nothing was happening, Pratibha decided to get into the act,” a family source said.
She enlisted the help of her son-in-law Sadanand Sule, a low-profile businessman, to reach out to Ajit. “Both Pratibhatai and Sule met Ajit. During the meeting, Pratibha made an emotional appeal to Ajit. Ajit, who has huge respect for Pratibha, agreed to her request and decided to resign from his post and return to the NCP,” the family source said.
State NCP leaders Chhagan Bhujbal and Dilip Walse Patil held four-hour long meeting with Ajit at the Vidhan Bhavan on Sunday, in an effort to convince him to severe his relations with the BJP.
Afterwards, Sharad’s grand nephew and newly elected MLA Rohit Pawar had taken to social media to make an emotional appeal to Ajit to return to the parent party.
Rohit, who has been elected to the State Assembly from Karjat-Jamkhed Assembly constituency, wrote in a Facebook post, “… Ajit should bow to Pawar’s wishes and return home. Sharad has never mixed politics with family affairs. He is unlikely to do so in future as well.”
“… When I lost my grandfather Appasaheb Pawar (Sharad Pawar’s brother), it was ‘Pawar Saheb’ who first consoled my father Rajendra… I have witnessed how, when Ajit lost his father Anantrao, again it was ‘Pawar Saheb’ who looked after him (Ajit).. After the death of Ajit’s father, it was Pawar Saheb who gave father’s love to him. On his part, Ajit Pawar reciprocated in equal measure by standing up for Pawar Saheb whenever he was in crisis,” Rohit wrote.
“… I feel this is the time for the family to stand united and we must all remain behind Pawar sahib,” Rohit stated.
Rohit had also posted a photograph on his twitter handle that showed him posing with Sharad, Supriya Sule and Ajit in good times.
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