Post-rebellion, Ajit Pawar-led NCP faction calls on Sharad Pawar, entreats him to think about party unity

The NCP patriarch has not responded to the rebel camp; Pawar sr. loyalist Jayant Patil says rebels came to “express regret” 

July 16, 2023 02:41 pm | Updated 09:59 pm IST - Mumbai

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar. File.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar. File. | Photo Credit: PTI

Amid the tussle for the control of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), rebel leader Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Ministers and leader of his camp paid a surprise visit to NCP chief Sharad Pawar to seek his guidance to keep the party united in future.

Besides Mr. Ajit, senior leaders Praful Patel, Sunil Tatkare and Narhari Zirwal, as well as recently sworn-in ministers Chhagan Bhujbal, Dilip Walse-Patil and Dhananjay Munde, among others called upon the 82-year-old NCP patriarch at Mumbai’s Y.B. Chavan Centre.

Also read | Ajit Pawar to meet PM Modi on July 18

Following a half-hour meeting, Mr. Patel said: “We came to meet Mr. Pawar on knowing he was here at the Y.B. Chavan Centre. We did not inform him we were coming… we expressed the affection in our hearts about him and sought his blessings. We entreated him to think on how the NCP can remain as one party in the future and accordingly guide us on the same.”

However, Mr. Pawar merely heard out the what the rebel faction leaders had to say without giving any reaction, said Mr. Patel.

The tone of the rebel camp leaders was in stark contrast to their recent speeches and statements in which Mr. Patel, Mr. Ajit and Mr. Bhujbal had vocally expressed their frustration about Mr. Pawar’s “stubbornness” and functioning style.  

As the rebel faction called upon him, Sharad Pawar loyalists Jayant Patil and Jitendra Awhad, who were in the midst of a meeting of the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) parties, left for the Y.B. Chavan Center.

Speaking to reporters, Mr. Patil said: “The nine MLAs who had taken oath as Ministers and those leaders who joined the current government suddenly came to meet Sharad Pawar… They have expressed regret at what has happened and urged him to show them a path out of these complications. They urged him to take a decision based on the larger interests of the party. However, Mr. Pawar did not give any reaction.”

He further said that the Sharad Pawar-led camp presently had 19-20 MLAs with them while several other legislators were with them “in spirit.”

The impromptu meeting raised eyebrows with observers wondering whether the move was a desire on part of the rebel camp to return to Mr. Pawar’s side or a stratagem on part of the Ajit Pawar group.

On Friday, Ajit Pawar had visited his uncle, Sharad Pawar’s ‘Silver Oak’ residence in Mumbai to meet the latter’s wife Pratibha Pawar after she had recently undergone a surgery.

Mr. Ajit is known to be close to his aunt Pratibha, who had reportedly played a crucial role in 2019 in bringing him back to the NCP fold after he and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis formed a short-lived government after the Assembly election that year.

Meanwhile, Mr. Fadnavis disclaimed any knowledge of the meeting between the rebel camp leaders and Sharad Pawar, remarking: “I have no knowledge of it… but what is the harm if they have met Mr. Pawar? After all, Mr. Pawar has been their leader for several years.”

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