PUNE: Even as political equations in Maharashtra turned on the head on Saturday morning with NCP leader Ajit Pawar breaking his party to join hands with the BJP, a huge hoarding supporting Sharad Pawar came up in Baramati.
Ajit Pawar had won the 2019 Assembly elections from Baramati with a crushing 1.65 lakh votes, the biggest margin for any candidate in this election, despite a high-decibel campaign by the BJP.
The caption on the hoarding, with a photograph of Pawar senior, put up near the Baramati municipal council building, read 'we are with an 80-year-old fighter'.
The hoarding was the cynosure of all eyes before it was removed a couple of hours later.
Police officials said the hoarding was removed by civic officials because it was put up without permission.
In an early morning development, Ajit, nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar and party legislative party leader, took oath as deputy of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who made a surprising comeback for the second time.
The Baramati MLA's move split the NCP down the middle, leading to the former Union minister tweeting that "Ajit Pawar's decision to support the BJP to form the Maharashtra Government is his personal decision and not that of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). We place on record that we do not support or endorse this decision of his."
Addressing a joint press conference with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray later, senior Pawar said, "Ajit Pawar's decision is an act of indiscipline. No NCP worker is in favour of the NCP-BJP government. NCP MLAs who support the BJP should know this move attracts provisions of anti-defection law," he said.
Meanwhile, several NCP workers in Baramati were an agitated lot, most of them speaking angrily over what they called was clear betrayal by Ajit Pawar.
However, some supported the move by their MLA to join hands with the BJP, and in the process, getting the post of deputy chief minister.