The early morning swearing-in ceremony in 2019 of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis and his nephew, the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Ajit Pawar had “one good outcome” of ending President’s rule in Maharashtra, said NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday.
“Had [Mr. Fadnavis’s] morning swearing-in with Ajit Pawar not happened, then the President’s rule would not have been lifted. If the President’s rule would not have been lifted, then could Uddhav Thackeray have been the Chief Minister [of the erstwhile ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ government],” said Mr. Pawar.
Speaking to reporters in Pimpri-Chinchwad, where he was campaigning for the MVA’s candidate ahead of the Assembly by-polls, the NCP chief was responding to questions about Mr. Fadnavis’s recent comments that the BJP’s attempt at forming a government with Ajit Pawar in 2019 was done with the knowledge and support of NCP chief Sharad Pawar himself.
When asked to clear the air on the events of 2019, Mr. Pawar said: “There was an attempt to form a government…the good that came of it was that it helped lift the President’s rule in the State. Everyone has witnessed what happened after that.”
When asked why Ajit Pawar was still tight-lipped about the issue, the elder Mr. Pawar said he did not see any need to speak on it.
After the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly election results, when the BJP fell-out with its long-standing ally— the Shiv Sena— over the CM’s post, Mr. Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar had startled Maharashtra with their early morning government formation coup.
To the NCP and other parties, it appeared that Mr. Ajit Pawar had staged an intra-party rebellion and was trying to form a government with the BJP by taking his own faction of MLAs within the NCP. However, Sharad Pawar’s iron hand soon prevailed and the NCP failed to ‘split’ despite his nephew’s (Ajit Pawar) temporary defection, following which Ajit Pawar resigned as Deputy Chief Minister in less than 80 hours.
Mr. Fadnavis had claimed that the BJP had decided to go ahead and hold talks (with the NCP) after none of the major parties could secure a simple majority in the 2019 Assembly election.
“We had an offer from the NCP who said they needed a stable government and we should form such a government together. We decided to go ahead and hold talks which happened with Sharad Pawar. Then things changed and everyone has seen how they changed,” Mr. Fadnavis had said.
Mr. Fadnavis, presently the Deputy CM, also said that Ajit Pawar had taken the oath with him with “honest intentions,” but the NCP’s strategy had later changed.
However, Mr. Sharad Pawar had said: “I felt that Devendra is a cultured person and a gentleman. I never felt that he will take recourse to falsehood and make such a statement.”
“I never felt that he will take recourse to falsehood and make such a statement”Sharad PawarNationalist Congress Party