Sharad Pawar dismisses perception of his hand in Ajit’s decision

The NCP chief accuses BJP of “misusing the official machinery to form a government by unconstitutional means”

Updated - November 25, 2019 04:38 pm IST

Published - November 25, 2019 02:20 pm IST - Pune:

NCP chief Sharad Pawar leaves after a meeting with party MLAs, in Mumbai on November 23, 2019.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar leaves after a meeting with party MLAs, in Mumbai on November 23, 2019.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Monday accused the BJP of “misusing the official machinery — from the Centre to the Governor of Maharashtra — to form a government by unconstitutional means”. He no doubt that the NCP, the Shiv Sena and the Congress would form a government, said Mr. Pawar in Karad.

Mr. Pawar said the perception that he might have had a hand in his nephew Ajit Pawar’s rebellion and subsequent decision to align with the BJP was “meaningless”. He asserted that his party workers generally followed the line laid by him.

“I have already said that this is not the party’s decision and we are not part of his decision. I take my party workers into confidence before making any decision and once we plot our course, my workers do not disrespect my decision… All our leaders, including Ajit Pawar, were present in all our internal meetings in which it was decided that we [the NCP, the Sena and the Congress] would jointly form a government. The decision that he took after that [to form a government with the BJP] was his personal one,” he said.

“A person may have his opinion which he has the right to express in an internal party meeting. But the party’s decision is important and an individual can’t take such a decision,” he said. He had had no communication with his nephew since the latter’s rebellion.

When asked whether Mr. Ajit Pawar would be expelled from the party because of his action, Mr. Sharad Pawar said the decision was not something for an individual to take. “This has to be decided collectively by the party when the matter comes up before it.” 

Mr. Sharad Pawar claimed he had no knowledge of whether senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal had met Mr. Ajit Pawar after the latter’s decision to ally with the BJP.

On the question of the delay in forming a government by the NCP, the Sena and the Congress, Mr. Sharad Pawar said that while the Congress and the NCP were of the same ideology, the Sena’s was certainly different.

“In this situation, a government can run for five years only if it has a clear common minimum programme [CMP]. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NDA government saw a socialist and a bitter RSS opponent like George Fernandes serving in it. But Vajpayee managed to bring together allies from different political hues and come up with a CMP. In our case, while the Sena’s stance differs from us in certain respects, our stand on certain issues may not be agreeable to them,” Mr. Pawar said, adding that it took time to iron out issues beforehand in order to ensure the formation of a stable government.

The NCP chief further questioned the validity of Mr. Ajit Pawar’s claim of a faction of his party’s support to the BJP-led governmen. A way would be found out of the prevailing crisis and that he had seen several such crises during the 50-odd years of his political career, he said.

 “It’s a fact that the BJP do not have a majority and that is why they did not form a government initially. They had even written to the Governor that they do not have the majority and hence would not form a government. The question of who enjoys majority will be clear on the day of the floor test,” he said.

Mr. Pawar was in Karad to pay tributes to Maharashtra’s first Chief Minister Yashwantrao Chavan on the latter’s death anniversary.

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