Ajit camp meets Sharad Pawar 2 days in a row, NCP chief’s silence keeps both factions on tenterhooks

Mumbai: The MLAs from the Ajit Pawar camp met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar for the second consecutive day on Monday wherein they requested him to “keep the party together”.

On Sunday, NCP ministers had met the NCP chief at Mumbai’s YB Chavan Centre. Aiit Pawar had accompanied both the delegations. These meetings, as per insiders from the Sharad Pawar camp, are all impromptu and happened at the centre where the NCP patriarch had gone for work. 

Praful Patel, a senior NCP leader of the Ajit Pawar camp, told the media that they met Pawar as he is their leader and “like yesterday, we have come to request him to keep the party together”. 

“He listened to us and did not say anything,” the former Union minister added.

As the NCP chief maintained silence regarding his stand over the rebellion of his nephew Ajit Pawar who joined the Eknath Shinde government on 2 July, senior leader Jayant Patil told the media that there is no question of “raising doubts” over Pawar’s intentions. 

“They met Pawar saheb and requested him to find a solution to what had happened. NCP is in the opposition. Sharad Pawar is firm on his position. There is no question of taking any doubt over his intentions,” he said. 

NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto said it was “another failed attempt” of the Ajit Pawar camp to pacify the party patriarch. 

Political analyst Pratap Asbe said that there was an ongoing battle of perception and that the senior Pawar should clear the “confusion”. 

“This (ongoing impasse) gives an impression that whatever has happened is in agreement with Sharad Pawar,” Asbe told ThePrint. “All this is to create confusion amongst the workers of NCP so that an atmosphere against NCP and Sharad Pawar can be created amongst the masses.” 

Another political analyst Prakash Bal said that instead of Jayant Patil, if Sharad Pawar himself comes out, then all the confusion will be clear.

“Sharad Pawar has great contact with the ground level workers. And so this confusion is created to disturb these workers. In this perception battle, Pawar should make his intentions clear and state it immediately else this confusion will persist,” he told ThePrint.

On the first day of the Maharashtra assembly session, 25 NCP MLAs, including 15 from Ajit Pawar camp and 10 from Sharad Pawar camp, were present Monday. Another 27 legislators skipped the opening day of the assembly session.

The analysts said that on ground, there is still sentiment for Sharad Pawar after the split in the NCP and this is what Ajit Pawar hopes to break. There is still confusion among the NCP MLAs on which side to be and it was evident on the first day of the assembly session, they asserted. 

Also Read: Impasse over Maharashtra cabinet expansion continues, Ajit Pawar wants key portfolios, allies reluctant 

Confusing signals

On Sunday, a day before the monsoon session in the Maharashtra assembly, while the meeting of the opposition party was going on, a bewildered Jayant Patil and Jitendra Awhad rushed to YB Chavan Centre. 

This was after Ajit Pawar along with his ministers went to meet Sharad Pawar without any prior announcement. 

“We were having our own meeting with Sharad Pawar regarding our Mumbai Marathi Grantha Sangrahalaya since 11:30 am. And suddenly his PA gave him a letter, after which he appeared restless and anxious,” said Asbe. “A few minutes later, Ajit Pawar along with his flock entered the room.”

According to NCP sources from the senior Pawar camp and Asbe, ministers who arrived to meet Pawar begged and pleaded with him to “take care of them”. 

Jayant Patil, meanwhile, asserted that the NCP patriarch has already made his stand clear in Nashik. “I don’t think anybody should become restless. There is no reason to ask this question again and again,” he said, adding that it is important to keep the dialogue open in a democracy. “Pawar meets anyone who comes to meet him. No need to read much.”

On Monday, the NCP chief met the workers of the party’s Mumbai unit and in his meeting with them asserted  that there is no question of going with someone against whom we fought. ”Whoever wants to come back, can do so, but we will continue with our fight,” an NCP insider quoted Sharad Pawar as saying.

(Edited by Tony Rai)

Also Read: Peeved by Ajit Pawar’s ‘sudden’ switch, ‘jittery’ Sena flock meets Shinde, assured all is well 



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