Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar on Monday asserted that he was not responsible for his nephew Ajit Pawar’s recent rebellion, PTI reported.
Ajit Pawar, also a leader of the party, had on Saturday taken oath as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, while Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the chief minister. These developments took place within 12 hours of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress finalising a deal to form an alternative alliance government in the state.
“It is not the party’s decision and we do not endorse it,” Sharad Pawar told reporters in Karad town of Satara. “It is wrong to say that I have a hand behind Ajit Pawar’s revolt. There is no question of my involvement in this...If I was involved, I would have told my colleagues.”
Sharad Pawar added that “there is not an iota of doubt” that a Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress government will be formed in the state. Asked whether Ajit Pawar would be expelled from the party, his uncle said such a decision will be taken only at a party level and not by any one person.
He also said that the BJP’s assertion that it is a “party with a difference” rings hollow. “The BJP used to say it is different from others,” Pawar said. “After this episode, their difference has been exposed.” Sharad Pawar said the BJP was misusing its power at the Centre and the governor’s post to achieve its goals.
The Nationalist Congress Party chief said that the differing ideologies were the reason behind long-winded discussions between the three parties. “Sometimes the Sena’s stand on a particular issue is different from the other two parties,” he said. “In such scenarios, we have to keep contradicting issues aside and come together on issues that are of interest to people.” He said it discussions aimed at running a government well for five years take time.
The political imbroglio
The BJP had won 105 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly elections, the 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 seats 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. Thus, the oath taking ceremony of Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar early on Saturday came as a surprise.
The same day, the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress filed a petition in the Supreme Court against Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision to invite the BJP to form the government. On Sunday, the Supreme Court asked for the letters of support on the basis of which the governor took action. After these letters were submitted to the court on Monday, it reserved its verdict in the case, for Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress also staked claim to form the government in Maharashtra, claiming 162 MLAs were on their side.