Ajit Pawar capable of becoming Maha CM, says Sanjay Raut
Raut's remark comes after Pawar, on Friday, said that NCP can stake a claim to the post of the chief minister "now also" instead of waiting for 2024.
JALGAON: Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday said Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar was capable of becoming Maharashtra chief minister since he has vast administrative experience, the statement coming days after the two engaged in a verbal tussle.
Notably, amid speculation surrounding his next political move, Ajit Pawar on Friday said he would "100 per cent" like to become the chief minister. He had also said that NCP can stake a claim to the post of the chief minister "now also" instead of waiting for 2024.
Raut, a key aide of Uddhav Thackeray, also said some undeserving people had gone on to become CM of the state by engineering splits, an apparent reference to Eknath Shinde whose rebellion along with 40 MLAs in June last year brought down the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Raut also said there is no difference regarding the chief minister's post in the Maha Vikas Aghadi, which includes Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP, and Congress, and the alliance is united and strong. He asserted that the MVA will come back (to power) in 2024 and it "will look into it (the post of chief minister)."
"Who would not like to be chief minister? And Ajit Pawar is capable of becoming chief minister. He has been in politics for so many years now and has been a minister several times. He holds a record for having served as deputy CM the most number of times. Everyone thinks one should become CM," Raut told reporters.
On November 23, 2019, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis, and Ajit Pawar, were sworn in as chief minister and deputy CM, respectively, but the government fell without proving its majority on November 28. Ajit Pawar went back to the NCP and was made deputy CM in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Uddhav Thackeray.
During an interview with a media house in Pune, Ajit Pawar on Friday responded to a query on his chief ministerial ambitions by saying "Yes, I would 100 per cent like to be (CM)."
Queried on this, Raut said, "He (Ajit Pawar) has not expressed this desire for the first time. So my best wishes to him."
These statements come amid intense speculation about Ajit Pawar's next political move, as the mercurial NCP leader cancelled some of his programmes recently, went incommunicado briefly and skipped the party's one-day convention in Mumbai on Friday.
While there is a buzz about his growing proximity with the ruling BJP, Ajit Pawar has said he will be with the NCP till he is alive, and Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule also recently stated the former was not in touch with the saffron party.
Sparks flew recently between Ajit Pawar and Raut after the latter's weekly column in Shiv Sena (UBT) mouthpiece 'Saamana' dealt with a meeting between NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray.
Raut, in his column, claimed Sharad Pawar had told Thackeray that the NCP would never align with the BJP, though "if anyone takes a personal decision to leave, it is their individual issue."
Hitting back, Ajit Pawar, on Tuesday, trained his guns on Raut and said some spokespersons of other parties were behaving like spokespersons of the NCP. The former deputy CM also said he would raise this issue whenever there is a meeting of the NCP.
Raut responded by saying he listens only to Sharad Pawar.