Maharashtra politics: Ajit says still with NCP, Sharad Pawar says no question of alliance with BJP

Published: November 25, 2019 12:17:16 AM

The NCP had on Saturday made a submission before the Supreme Court with documents bearing signatures of 41 of its 54 MLAs who turned up for a party meeting held to remove Ajit Pawar as legislature party leader.

NCP leader Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Sunday (Image: Amit Chakravarty)NCP leader Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Sunday (Image: Amit Chakravarty)

By MANOJ MORE & Zeeshan Shaikh

While the NCP on Sunday claimed the support of most of its MLAs, including four of the five who could not be accounted for on Saturday, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who sprung a surprise on Saturday by joining hands with the BJP and taking oath as deputy chief minister, exuded confidence that the new government would win the floor test.

“You will see…we will win the trust vote on the floor of the house,” Ajit Pawar, who was sacked as the NCP party legislature leader on Saturday, told The Indian Express. His comments came moments after his tweets, in which he thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and insisted ‘Pawar saheb is our leader’.

In one of the tweets, Ajit Pawar said, “I am in the NCP and shall always be in the NCP… and Pawar saheb is our leader. Our BJP-NCP alliance shall provide a stable government in Maharashtra for the next five years which will work sincerely for the welfare of the state and its people.”

In another tweet, he said, “There is absolutely no need to worry, all is well. However, a little patience is required. Thank you very much for all your support.”

Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ajit Pawar tweeted, “Thank you Hon. Prime Minister @narendramodi ji. We will ensure a stable Government that will work hard for the welfare of the people of Maharashtra.”

Acknowledging his tweets, Ajit Pawar told The Indian Express, “Yes, they are my tweets. I am in the NCP and we are all together. Our NCP-BJP government will win the floor test.”

Hitting back at his nephew, NCP chief Sharad Pawar tweeted, “There is no question of forming an alliance with @BJP4Maharashtra. NCP has unanimously decided to ally with @ShivSena & @INCMaharashtra to form the government. Shri Ajit Pawar’s statement is false and misleading in order to create confusion and false perception among the people.”

Claiming that most of its MLAs are in touch with the party, the NCP on Sunday released separate videos and statements by four of its MLAs. The MLAs are among the five, apart from Ajit Pawar, whom the party could not make contact with until Saturday. They included Dindori MLA Narhari Zirwal, Shahpur MLA Daulat Daroda, Amalner MLA Anil Patil, Kalwan MLA Nitin Pawar and Ahmedpur MLA Babasaheb Patil. On Sunday, the NCP released video statements of three MLAs — Babasaheb Patil, Daulat Daroda and Nitin Pawar — where they are seen pledging their fidelity to the NCP and saying that they will work under the leadership of both Sharad and Ajit Pawar. Anil Patil, meanwhile, released a statement saying he has faith in Sharad Pawar’s leadership and that he had gone to Raj Bhavan on Saturday at Ajit Pawar’s insistence.

The only MLA the party has not been able to contact is two-time MLA Narhari Zirwal.

The NCP had on Saturday made a submission before the Supreme Court with documents bearing signatures of 41 of its 54 MLAs who turned up for a party meeting held to remove Ajit Pawar as legislature party leader. On Sunday, NCP leaders claimed they now had the support of 48 MLAs.

The NCP leadership, meanwhile, sent its senior leaders Dilip Walse-Patil and state NCP president Jayant Patil to goad Ajit Pawar to return to the fold. The two leaders held discussions with Ajit Pawar at his Churchgate residence, where he met supporters through the day.

“The bulk of the MLAs are with us. We do not want Ajit Pawar to be left alone. I will try to convince him to come back,” said Jayant Patil.

Ajit Pawar, however, seemed in no mood to relent. His statement that the BJP-NCP government would rule the state came after his meeting with the NCP leaders.

His son, Parth Pawar, when contacted by The Indian Express, too sounded confident that the “NCP-BJP alliance” would win the trust vote. “Everything is on the right track, we will provide a strong government for five years,” said Parth, who has been with his father since Saturday, when Ajit Pawar took oath. When asked if his father was under pressure, Parth said, “There is no pressure of any sort on my father… He is fine.”

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