Ajit Pawar’s power play divides NCP



Zeenews Bureau

Mumbai: The show of strength by Ajit Pawar appears to have put Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in a fix. While on one hand party MLAs have moved a resolution requesting Ajit Pawar to take back his resignation, senior party leader and Union Minister Praful Patel has complicated the matter by saying that Ajit’s resignation must be accepted.

NCP legislature party held a meeting at the Vidhan Bhawan to discuss the situation arising out of the resignation of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and a similar offer made by 19 other party ministers.

While party MLAs are of the view that Ajit should withdraw his resignation, they have authorised party chief Sharad Pawar, uncle of Ajit Pawar, to pronounce his final verdict on these resignations.

The union agriculture minister will be in Mumbai, Friday, to hammer out a solution to the ongoing stalemate.

Besides taking a final call on Ajit Pawar's resignation, the union agriculture minister will also consider the issue of the resignation letters of 19 other NCP ministers.

Ajit Pawar arrived at the Vidhan Bhawan accompanied by state unit chief Madhukar Pichad, PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and a large group of slogan-shouting supporters chanting, "Ajit Dada tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hain."

Meanwhile, Praful Patel, while declaring that the post of the Deputy Chief Minister will be kept vacant till Ajit Pawar's comeback, insisted that his resignation must be accepted now.

"We feel that the entire government in Maharashtra should stand up in solidarity when it is under attack and when baseless allegations are made against any minister," NCP Vice President and Union Minister Praful Patel told reporters here.

"Ajit Pawar will certainly make a comeback as allegations against him in due course will be found untrue," Patel said but downplayed assertions by independent MLAs that their support to the government is linked with the continuance of Ajit Pawar as Deputy Chief Minister.

Patel said it showed how the MLAs are "emotionally attached" with the leadership of Ajit.

The 13-year-old Congress-NCP coalition had plunged into a crisis yesterday following the surprise resignation of Pawar, nephew of party chief and Union Minister Sharad Pawar in the aftermath of media reports of his involvement in a scam when he headed the irrigation ministry between 1999 and 2009.

Shortly afterwards, all other 19 NCP members of the state council of ministers had submitted their resignation letters to Pichad. However, Sharad Pawar has ruled out any threat to the coalition government.

With PTI inputs