MUMBAI: NCP leaders continued their efforts to pursue rebel leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and bring him back to the fold on Monday, though with little success, even as Pawar Junior avoided taking charge of his post on Monday.
His uncle and NCP chief Sharad Pawar distanced himself from the attempts to bring Ajit back to the fold and remained firm on his stand that the party won’t go with the BJP on government formation in Maharashtra.
In the fourth of such meetings, former deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal on Monday visited Ajit Pawar’s home to convince him to go with the party line.
Former Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil and NCP MP Sunil Tatkare, too, joined them later at the assembly complex.
After paying respects to the first Maharashtra CM Yashwantrao Chavan, all the leaders went to Legislative Council Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar’s office.
Later joined by state NCP chief Jayant Patil, they engaged in discussions for over four hours after which Ajit Pawar went home instead of going to Mantralaya to take charge. However, he remained firm on his stand of supporting the BJP to form a government.
“We are here to make a final effort to persuade him,” Jayant Patil said. However, he was the first to leave the venue and avoided the media as he emerged from the meeting.
Bhujbal, however, said more efforts would be made to persuade Ajit Pawar.
Pawar, who was at Karad in Satara district to pay respects to Yashwantrao Chavan on his death anniversary, distanced himself from the efforts to pursue Ajit.
He also remained non-committal about the expulsion of or disciplinary action against his nephew.
Such a decision would be made when the issue comes up at an internal party meeting, the NCP chief said.