Mumbai: Ajit Pawars’ unexpected choice to become the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra has greatly surprised and deeply impacted the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) established by his uncle Sharad Pawar two decades ago. The party is now in a crisis, prompting urgent discussions regarding power-sharing arrangements. These discussions are taking place at Ajit Pawar’s residence, focusing on allocating ministries to Ajit Pawar and the eight NCP MLAs who have also switched their allegiance to the Shinde-led government.
The NCP has recently submitted a petition to the Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly, Mr. Rahul Narvekar in light of the developments above. They seek the disqualification of Mr Ajit Pawar and the other eight party leaders who took oath as ministers in the Shiv Sena BJP government. The petition argues that their actions signify a voluntary abandonment of NCP membership. The party has also written to the Election Commission of India, asserting that Sharad Pawar remains the party’s leader and urging the commission to hear their side before acting on any requests from the Ajit Pawar camp.
Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar, in a display of strength, visited the memorial of his mentor and Maharashtra’s first chief minister, Yashwantrao Chavan. He declared that his fight against communal forces had begun and expressed determination to rebuild the party. Ajit Pawar asserts that he has gained the backing of a significant faction within the NCP. Encompassing more than 40 of its state assembly MLAs out of 53. He has claimed the party’s name and symbol, seeking recognition as the original NCP.
While the NCP faces internal divisions, party leaders like Supriya Sule, daughter of Sharad Pawar and the party’s working president, have emphasized that the developments will not impact the opposition’s unity. Sule, expressing her love for Ajit Pawar as a sister, acknowledged their differing views but maintained that there would be no conflict. The Congress party has indicated its support for Sharad Pawar, with Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan stating that Pawar, known for his political acumen, will put up a fight, especially in the court of public opinion.