Sharad's terms as speculation mounts over Ajit Pawar MLA's switching sides

The NCP(SP) leader elaborated that certain leaders had previously benefited from the party only to later undermine it. Such leaders, he asserted, would not be welcomed back.
FILE - A collage of Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar
FILE - A collage of Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar (Photos | PTI)

MUMBAI: Amid speculation that 15 to 20 MLAs from the Ajit Pawar-led NCP faction might switch sides, NCP(SP) leader Sharad Pawar on Tuesday stated that his party would welcome back only those MLAs who would benefit the party while rejecting those who might harm it.

Welcoming BJP leader and former Union Minister of State Suryakanta Patil into the NCP (SP), Sharad Pawar emphasized that the party would accept MLAs who would enhance the party's strength and morale.

“We will not take back those MLAs who have previously tried to damage the party,” he said.

Sharad Pawar further elaborated that certain leaders had previously benefited from the party only to later undermine it. Such leaders, he asserted, would not be welcomed back.

FILE - A collage of Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar
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“We will discuss everything with our party workers, and the decision regarding these MLAs and leaders will be made collectively. We are open to welcoming leaders who will boost the morale of our party workers. Respecting the opinion of our workers is paramount,” the former Agriculture Minister said.

Sharad Pawar's statement holds significant political implications, opening the door for Opposition MLAs keen to rejoin the NCP (SP) ahead of the Maharashtra state assembly elections.

Sources indicated that several MLAs from Ajit Pawar’s faction have been in touch with Sharad Pawar and his party leaders, expressing a desire to rejoin.

FILE - A collage of Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar
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Sharad Pawar has decided to categorize these MLAs into two groups: those who will boost the party’s prospects and those who have previously harmed the party by taking undue advantage.

“The second category includes leaders who pushed Ajit Pawar to break away from his uncle, Sharad Pawar, and ally with the BJP to retain power and evade central agencies.

Notable among them are Praful Patel, Sunil Tatkare, Dhananjay Munde, and Chhagan Bhujbal. Sharad Pawar has blocked these leaders, but other MLAs and leaders are not perceived as villains, and their return will be considered once Sharad Pawar approves the plan,” said a senior NCP (SP) leader who requested anonymity.

FILE - A collage of Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar
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