Ajit removed as legislative party leader, loses whip
After day-long high drama in Maharashtra, the NCP on Saturday evening removed Ajit Pawar as the party’s legislature unit leader, hours after he joined hands with the BJP in a coup and took oath as Deputy of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Ajit Pawar’s actions defied the party’s policies, said a resolution passed at the legislature wing’s meeting here, attended by party supremo Sharad Pawar.
State NCP chief Jayant Patil will have all the constitutional rights till the next legislature party leader is elected, it said.
Ajit Pawar, the NCP chief’s nephew, had been elected as the legislature party leader on October 30 following the results of the Maharashtra Assembly elections.
The resolution passed at the meeting also said that Ajit Pawar’s right to issue a whip were also revoked.
The party authorised Sharad Pawar and Jayant Patil to decide its stand in light of the developments.
NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said the list of NCP MLAs submitted by Ajit Pawar to the Governor before taking oath was actually a letter signed by the party MLAs when they had attended a meeting earlier.
Some of the MLAs, who were present with Ajit Pawar during the oath-taking ceremony, later pledged their loyalty to Sharad Pawar.
The number of legislators, if any, backing Ajit Pawar remains a mystery.
Meanwhile, sources said Ajit Pawar’s primary membership of the party remains intact.
“Efforts are on convince him to return to the party’s fold,” the sources said.
When Pawar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently ostensibly to discuss agrarian crisis in Maharashtra, a lot of eyebrows had been raised in the political circles and many felt that it might have something to do with the prevailing political stalemate in the State.
So much so that when the news of his nephew Ajit Pawar joining the BJP-led Government broke senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar was quick to link the development to Sr Pawar’s meeting with Modi early this month.
“When I used to talk about the BJP giving good news to the people of Maharashtra, I was not talking like that without a reason. That being the case, you should draw your conclusions from Pawar’s recent meeting with Modi vis-a-vis today’s development in the State,” Mungantiwar said, in his initial reaction to Ajit Pawar being sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister in the BJP-led Government.
Initially the political observers assumed that he might have had role to play in Ajit Pawar joining the BJP-led Government in the State. The observers surmised that Ajit Pawar would not have taken such a daring without the knowledge or support of the NCP president.
However, two things contributed to Sr Pawar coming clean in the matter. First, NCP spokesperson Sanjay Raut defended the NCP chief vociferously, by saying that he had no play in Ajit Pawar joining the BJP-led Government in the State Government and that it was Ajit Pawar himself who had gone with the BJP. Secondly, Sr Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule, who is a credible face in the State politics, made the spilt in the family and party as the status of her WhatsApp handle, thus sending a clear message to the people that it was Ajit Pawar to blame and not Sr Pawar for the Saturday’s development. Later in the day, she had tears in her eyes when she spoke about the development to mediapersons, another clear indicator to the fact that it was Ajit Pawar who played dirty with the NCP and not the Sr Pawar.
All the same after Ajit Pawar’s support to the BJP-led Government, Pawar has the onerous responsibility to ensure that the Devendra Fadnavis Government is defeated on the floor of the Assembly on November 30 and the Shiv Sena-led Government is installed in the State.
Sunday, 24 November 2019 | PNS | Mumbai
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