Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday declared that his nephew Ajit Pawar will never become the chief minister of Maharashtra, PTI reported.

Ajit Pawar, along with several rebel MLAs of the party, had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena coalition government in Maharashtra in July. He took oath as the deputy chief minister for the third time in less than four years.

The move led to a split within the Nationalist Congress Party, with one faction supporting Sharad Pawar and the other backing Ajit Pawar.

Ajit Pawar has on several occasions said that he wants to be the chief minister of the state. He has also told his uncle that it was time for him to retire from active politics.

But on Thursday, Sharad Pawar told reporters in Akola that the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition comprising the faction of the Nationalist Congress Party led by him, the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and the Congress will come to power in Maharashtra after the 2024 elections. The Assembly elections in the state are due in 2024.

“Ajit Pawar becoming chief minister will remain only a dream,” he added.

His daughter and Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule said that her 82-year-old father had no knowledge of Ajit Pawar’s plans to ally with the BJP in 2019 and this year, the Deccan Herald reported.

The Baramati MLA had taken oath as the deputy chief minister in 2019 after joining hands with the BJP. However, the government only lasted for three days. Subsequently, Ajit Pawar again became the deputy chief minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Uddhav Thackeray.

But after this year’s rebellion, Ajit Pawar had accused Sharad Pawar of toying with the idea of backing the BJP but making him the scapegoat.

He had claimed that the veteran leader wanted to align with the BJP in 2014, 2017, 2019 and as recently as 2022 after the Maha Vikas Aghadi government was toppled in June last year.