Why 2024, NCP can stake claim to Maharashtra CM post now also: Ajit Pawar
Queried about him being soft on senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, Pawar said the two had political and ideological differences but weren't enemies.
MUMBAI: Amid speculation over the next move of Ajit Pawar, the NCP leader has put a poser that appeared to be more self-soothing than the one that seeks to score an edge in the power game: “Why should they (his party or only his loyalist MLAs?) why wait for 2024 Maharashtra assembly elections to get the CM’s post, when they can get it today?”
In an interview with Sakal media house in Pune, Ajit Pawar sought to indicate what this paper has already reported. He said the NCP is no more enamoured with the deputy chief minister’s post. “In 2004, the NCP had 71 MLAs while Congress had 69, but we did not get the CM’s post because of some decisions by the party’s top leaders. As loyal soldiers of the party, we have to accept such decisions. Late RR Patil was the top contender for the chief minister’s post. However, the post remained elusive for us,” Ajit said.
He said the incumbent CM Eknath Shinde will step down before he gets enough experience for the top job. Senior NCP leader and Lok Sabha MP Sunil Tatkare, who was accompanied by Ajit Pawar in Pune, said the state needs Ajit Pawar-like chief minister to put the state on the path to progress.
Tatkare is part of a trio who are discussing with the BJP the future alignment and the possibility of making Ajit Pawar the chief minister. Sources said he has not given up the idea of joining the BJP and getting the top post. “The BJP is unhappy with Eknath Shinde’s performance. Shinde has failed to deliver. The BJP does not want to take any risk ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Therefore, the BJP is trying hard to get Ajit Pawar and NCP on board so that they can cultivate him as they did in the case of Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma who earlier was with the Congress,” said a source requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, in clear hints of the souring of relations between Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) and NCP – both are partners in the MVA alliance – Ajit Pawar on Friday asked: “Who is Sanjay Raut?” In his response, Raut played it cool, saying Ajit Pawar “is a very sweet person” and that he has no differences with him. “The BJP is trying to divide us, but we in the MVA will remain united. I have no difference with any member of the Pawar family. We are together,” said Raut.
Ajit Pawar is apparently upset with Raut’s weekly column in Saamana. The article sought to reveal details of a discussion between NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray at the former’s Silver Oak residence. In the column, Raut claimed the Central agencies were pressuring NCP leaders and “trying to break the families and party” that includes Ajit Pawar and NCP leaders so that they can join the BJP.
In the article, Raut said that BJP is trying to break NCP after breaking Shiv Sena and called it’s the Big Boss-Season-II in Maharashtra.
Replying to Raut, without taking his name, Ajit Pawar attacked the Shiv Sena (Uddhav). “People should not write about what is happening in other parties. They are free to write about their own party in their party mouthpiece. They should not try to be the advocate or spokesperson for our party. I will raise the issue in the MVA meeting,” Pawar said.
NCP sources say the BJP is unhappy with the performance of CM Eknath Shinde. They said the BJP does not want to take any risk ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Therefore, it is trying hard to get Ajit Pawar and NCP on board so that they can cultivate him as they did in the case of Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, said a source. In another development, Ajit Pawar on Friday asked: “Who is Sanjay Raut?” In his response, Raut played it cool, saying Ajit Pawar “is a very sweet person” and that he has no differences with him. “The BJP is trying to divide us,” said Sanjay Raut of Shiv Sena(Uddhav).