Sharad Pawar initiates mission to rebuild NCP amid power struggle with nephew Ajit Pawartext_fields
Pune: Amid a power struggle within the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Sharad Pawar, the party's founder and patriarch, is embarking on a statewide tour to rejuvenate and rebuild the party from the grassroots level.
The tour, which starts from Nashik, aims to gather support and strengthen the party amidst the ongoing political turmoil, especially in the constituencies of MLAs that sided with Ajit Pawar.
Sharad Pawar, aged 82, will visit several cities, including Nashik, Pune, Solapur, and parts of the Vidarbha region, which are the constituencies of rebel NCP MLAs such as Chagan Bhujbal and Dhananjay Mundem. This initiative is part of his mission to revive the party and consolidate its base.
The power struggle within the NCP has emerged due to the revolt of Sharad Pawar's nephew, Ajit Pawar, who joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra, challenging Sharad Pawar's leadership. In response, Sharad Pawar aims to mobilise support and strengthen the party's position in the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held meetings with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for consecutive days, suggesting possible tensions within the Shiv Sena camp after Ajit Pawar's faction joined the state government. Ajit Pawar's aspiration to become Chief Minister has also raised eyebrows in political circles. Presently, Ajit Pawar shares the Deputy Chief Minister post with Devendra Fadnavis in the government led by Eknath Shinde.
Reacting to these developments, Aaditya Thackeray, a Shiv Sena leader, claimed that Eknath Shinde has been asked to resign, indicating potential changes in the state government. Sanjay Raut, a senior leader in Shiv Sena (UBT), claimed that around 20 MLAs from the Shinde faction have been in touch with them since NCP joined the ruling government.
However, Eknath Shinde dismissed any threat to his position, asserting that the inclusion of Ajit Pawar and the support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have strengthened the government.
Senior NCP leader Praful Patel yesterday said that Ajit Pawar was unanimously appointed as party president on June 30 - days before Ajit Pawar's shock move of crossing over to the ruling alliance and taking oath as Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister. "The decisions taken by the Sharad Pawar group, expelling or disqualifying leaders of the Ajit Pawar faction, were illegal and not applicable," he said.
Ajit Pawar also claims that his faction is the real NCP.
He has approached the Election Commission for the party name and symbol. Ajit Pawar so far has the support of 32 MLAs and Sharad Pawar has the support of 14 MLAs. The support of 36 MLAs, a two-thirds majority, is needed for the poll body to consider the claim. NCP has 53 MLAs.