Rebel Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar held closed-door discussions with newly-anointed Maharashtra chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis late on Sunday night, PTI reported. This came hours after Ajit Pawar was locked in a Twitter war with his uncle and party president Sharad Pawar.
A tweet from the chief minister’s office said both the leaders discussed “various measures for additional support and assistance to unseasonal rain affected farmers”. It added that the matter will be discussed on Monday with the chief secretary and finance secretary of the state.
Ajit Pawar went on tweeting spree on Sunday, where he thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah a day after he was sworn in as Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister. The rebel NCP leader claimed he shall always remain with the party and his uncle, party chief Sharad Pawar, will always be “our leader”.
Sharad Pawar, however, dismissed these claims, saying there was no question of forming a government with the BJP, adding his nephew’s tweet was false and misleading.
On Saturday, the NCP had sacked Ajit Pawar as the legislative party’s head after he sided with the BJP even when an alliance with the Shiv Sena and the Congress to form a government was nearly ready.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court sought the letter sent by Fadnavis to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, on the basis of which he was invited to form the government early on Saturday. The top court had put on hold a plea for ordering a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly till it examined records.
The court also asked for Koshyari’s order revoking the President’s Rule in the state, and said both letters should be submitted by 10.30 am on Monday.
The developments so far
The 60-year-old nephew of Sharad Pawar on Saturday had taken oath as the Deputy of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in a surprise development, hours after the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress finalised an alliance to form the government.
The NCP later said the decision to tie up with the BJP was Ajit Pawar’s alone, and the party officially wanted to go ahead with the Shiv Sena and Congress to form the government. His uncle, party chief Sharad Pawar, even sacked him as the leader of the party’s legislature party.
Later on Saturday, the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress moved the Supreme Court with an urgent petition against Koshyari’s decision to invite the BJP to form the government.
The BJP had won 105 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly elections, results of which were announced on October 24. The Shiv Sena, which was in an alliance with the BJP, won 56 seats. Despite having enough to form a government together, the two allies bickered over power-sharing – the chief minister’s post and Cabinet portfolios – resulting in the Shiv Sena starting negotiations with the ideologically different Congress and Nationalist Congress Party instead.
With no outcome in sight then, the Centre imposed President’s Rule in Maharashtra on November 12. The Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP continued negotiations to form an alliance, and on Friday evening, Sharad Pawar announced that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had been unanimously chosen to head the new government. The oath taking ceremony of Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar early on Saturday came as a surprise.