Upset with reports of political crisis, Ajit Pawar on Saturday clarified that he was unwell and was taking rest as per his doctor’s advice. Media should not run reports without verifying, he said.
The political circles were abuzz with speculations after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader suddenly cancelled all his party and reportedly left his official convoy too. This sparked speculations of a 2019-like Maharashtra political crisis when he had quietly joined hands with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis to form a government that lasted for only 72 hours.
According to information, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar’s nephew had cancelled all his events scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Pune, with many speculating if he had gone incommunicado with some MLAs of his party.
Some said that seven legislators had gone missing too. A source said that rumours started doing the rounds in the backdrop of Ajit’s recent interview and chief minister Eknath Shinde’s visit to Ayodhya on Saturday.
Ajit Pawar, like Shinde, is known for such stunts, the source added. The NCP, however, has rubbished the speculations, and said that “dada” is very much in Pune, and will attend all his public commitments on Saturday.
Ajit Pawar Criticises Uddhav Thackeray
The senior NCP leader had recently revealed that Sharad Pawar and some others in the party had forewarned then-Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray about a possible rebellion in his outfit Shiv Sena, but the latter was confident his MLAs will not take any extreme step.
Ajit Pawar, whose party was a constituent of the Shiv Sena-led MVA along with the Congress, served as deputy chief minister in the Thackeray cabinet.
A section of MLAs of the undivided Shiv Sena, led by then-Cabinet minister Eknath Shinde, had rebelled against Thackeray’s leadership in June last year, leading to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government. The rebel MLAs then teamed up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form a government under Shinde’s leadership.
Launching an indirect attack on Thackeray, Ajit said some people remained inattentive, instead of showing an urgency. “When the first group of 15 to 16 rebel Sena MLAs went with Shinde, there was an urgent need to keep the remaining flock together. But MLAs were allowed to go wherever they wanted. In the end, 40 of the 55 Shiv Sena MLAs joined the Shinde camp,” he added.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar too has accepted that there are “issues” in Opposition unity, and his party did not agree on some. But they have “put forth their views”.
#WATCH | We had a joint meeting of all the opposition parties and we discussed all the issues there. There were some issues on which we did not agree but everyone put forth their views in the meeting: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on ‘opposition unity’ for 2024 polls pic.twitter.com/yunpKEKzM2— ANI (@ANI) April 8, 2023
Eknath Shinde Leaving for Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh
The speculations also arose as Eknath Shinde is scheduled to leave for Ayodhya. Last time when he went incommunicado, he reached Guwahati, capital of BJP-ruled Assam, following which many Shiv Sena MLAs joined him and it led to toppling of the MVA government. Like Assam, Uttar Pradesh too is ruled by Bharatiya Janata Party.
ALSO READ | ‘Guwahati Ke Woh 8 Din’: How Shinde-Led Sena Rebels Conducted Maharashtra Saga in Assam
Shinde will be visiting Ayodhya for the first time after becoming the chief minister of Maharashtra, on Sunday. As part of his day-long visit, Shinde will pray before Ram Lalla, seek blessings of the saints on the Lakshman Tila ground and witness the aarti on the banks of river Saryu.
He is also likely to be accompanied by 5,000 Shiv Sainiks. Shinde is expected to reach Lucknow on Saturday evening and meet his UP counterpart Yogi Adityanath, following which he will fly to Ayodhya in a helicopter the next day.
Some political analysts said that Shinde is following the footprints of Shiv Sena patriarch late Bal Thackeray. Shiv Sena national general secretary Abhijit Adsul and former mayor of Thane Naresh Mhaske are already in Ayodhya to oversee the arrangements for Shinde’s visit.
(With inputs from Vinaya Deshpande in Mumbai)
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