Twice in 2 days, Ajit Pawar & Co. meet Sharad Pawar, yearn for NCP Unity

Mumbai: Over a fortnight after dumping Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, the splinter group led by Ajit Pawar met the party patriarch on Monday with a similar plea for the second time in two days – his nod to keep the party “intact”.

New Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar sprang a surprise on his uncle Sharad Pawar – making an unscheduled call on the latter on Monday afternoon, accompanied by over two dozen MLAs from his group.

Accompanied by the faction’s Working President Praful Patel, Ajit Pawar, and others suddenly trooped down to the Y. B. Chavan Centre at Nariman Point to meet Pawar Sr.

Pawar initially obliged the duo of Patel and Ajit Pawar with a separate meeting and later he also met over two dozen MLAs who had pulled the rug from under him to switch sides with his nephew’s faction since July 1.

Emerging from the meeting, Patel later told media persons that many of the MLAs who were unable to meet Sharad Pawar on Sunday clamoured to go and seek his “blessings”.

“We sought Pawar Saheb’s blessings and spoke with him… We have requested him to consider measures to keep the NCP united… He gave us a very patient hearing but did not commit anything,” he said.

This comment was near-identical to his statements made after the Sunday meeting that had sent political circles into a tizzy.

Pressed for Pawar’s possible response, Patel threw up his hand to declare that “we have taken his ‘ashirwaad’ and presented our views… how can I tell you right now what’s going on in his mind”.

Incidentally, Sharad Pawar was expected to be in Bengaluru for the two-day National Opposition parties’ conclave, but he postponed his departure till Tuesday morning.

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Patel’s claims apart on the second meeting in two days with a similar request to Pawar Sr., speculation was rife in political circles that it may be linked with the notices of disqualification served by the NCP on Ajit Pawar and his team of ministers who took oath on July 2.

From the Sharad Pawar side, present were state NCP President Jayant Patil, national General Secretary Dr. Jitendra Awhad and other senior leaders.

Monday’s meeting came a day after Ajit Pawar, along with his ministerial team and other leaders, paid a walk-in call to Sharad Pawar on Sunday afternoon. After the Sunday meeting, Patel told media persons that they had gone “to seek Sharad Pawar’s blessings and also make unity efforts for the splintered NCP”, but the octogenarian leader remained non-committal.

Senior Congress leader Yashomati Thakur frowned at “such meetings” while other party leaders said that these are creating confusion not only among the NCP cadres, but also in the state political circles.

NCP national spokesperson Clyde Crasto said this was “another failed attempt” by the Ajit Pawar group to show the people of Maharashtra that they could pacify Sharad Pawar.

“It will not make any difference because a lot of water has flown under the bridge of trust… What this group (Ajit Pawar) has done cannot be rectified now,” he said.

As far as Ajit Pawar is concerned this was his third meeting in four days with Sharad Pawar and NCP Working President Supriya Sule at the latter’s home when he rushed to call on his ailing aunt Pratibha Sharad Pawar on July 14 night, justifying that ‘politics is separate, family always come first’.

Incidentally, that (July 14) was Ajit Pawar’s first meeting — after he and his supporters had triggered a political earthquake – deserting the 83-year-old Sharad Pawar, publicly made a preposterous suggestion to become a NCP ‘marg-darshak’ (retire), and joined the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party regime as a second Deputy CM along with 9 ministers on July 2.


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