By Pankaj Upadhyay: Speculation is rife that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar may join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), especially after his pro-BJP remarks recently and praise for PM Modi’s leadership. The former deputy CM of Maharashtra also seconded the Electronic Voting Machines at a time when several members of the Opposition sought a revival of the conventional ballot paper system for voting.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut alleged that the BJP had been carrying out the same “experiment” with the NCP leaders as it had done with the Shiv Sena leaders who ultimately jumped ship under the leadership of Eknath Shinde.
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Speaking to India Today TV on Thursday, Sanjay Raut said the BJP had been using the central agencies as political tools against the Opposition.
“The judiciary and investigation institutions like the ED and CBI are not free today. I will not take the name of Ajit Pawar, specifically. Never has the state faced such a situation. It is because we are fighting injustice that we have been termed as an enemy,” said Raut.
The statements came as the Enforcement Directorate recently submitted a chargesheet against a company linked to Ajit Pawar and his wife Sunetra.
Is there pressure on Congress and NCP leaders?
The Sena (UBT) leader revealed there were concerns that some Congress and NCP leaders might join the BJP in the days ahead and hence, Uddhav Thackeray, in his recent meeting with Sharad Pawar had a discussion on the subject.
When asked about Sharad Pawar’s reaction to ongoing speculations, Sanjay Raut said that he too accepted that there was pressure on his MLAs to jump ship and join the BJP.
“Pawar said that we need to stay together in this and if somebody leaves, they will be left out and we form the government taking mandate from the people,” said Raut.
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On April 13, Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis denied any discussions with the NCP leader and even said that the media was blowing up the topic unnecessarily. But he added that there were many leaders who have always remained in touch with the government.