Won’t take traitors back, will stay together for polls: Pawar & Uddhav

The duo ruled out taking deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, to their alliance after speculation whirled about BJP dropping him as its ally for the upcoming state assembly elections.
 NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray during a joint press conference, in Mumbai
NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray during a joint press conference, in MumbaiPhoto | PTI

MUMBAI: Sharad Pawar on Saturday ruled out taking his nephew, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, back to his party after speculation whirled about BJP dropping him as its ally for the upcoming state assembly elections.

Senior Pawar’s remarks came at a joint presser of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) of the Sena (UBT), NCP (SP) and Congress, first after the Opposition alliance outperformed the ruling coalition in the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra. Both Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar firmly said: “There is no question of taking rebel leaders back.”

The speculation about Sharad Pawar not accepting Ajit back arose after an abysmal performance of the ruling Mahayuti, particularly BJP, winning nine against 23 in the previous elections and Ajit Pawar’s spouse being defeated by Supriya Sule in Baramati.

Uddhav, too, clarified that no one from the “traitor gang” will be taken back in his party.

Reacting to the statement, Sanjay Shirsat, an MLA of the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, said Thackeray should first take care of his own flock. “Who is going, in the first place? It is not that anybody from our side went to `Matoshree’ (Thackeray’s residence) and was thrown out. We have no interest in going back there. They should take care of their people,” he said.

The opposition MVA leaders also asserted that they will jointly fight the assembly elections.

Sharad Pawar reminded the alliance partners that they should also “thank PM Modi” for his extensive campaign in Lok Sabha elections.

“Modi addressed 17 rallies plus one road show and wherever he campaigned, the MVA candidate won in the Lok Sabha election,” said the 84-year-old Pawar sarcastically.

Sharad Pawar also spoke against the Centre’s move to prosecute eminent author Arundhati Roy under the stringent UAPA by BJP in a 2010 case. “The BJP is continuing to misuse Central investigation agencies. People will teach it more lessons in the coming days,” Pawar said.

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