AFTER BEING sworn in as the deputy chief minister early Saturday, the man at the centre of Maharashtra’s political storm, Ajit Pawar, returned to his brother Shrikant Pawar’s apartment at Mumbai’s upscale Napean Sea Road.
Through the day, the neighbourhood around Brighton — the apartment block where Ajit was holed up — was buzzing with security personnel. There were State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) personnel, with two senior officers remaining stationed, outside the building.
A senior officer, who did not want to be named, said: “We are here as the protocol for a deputy CM demands it. We do not know about his movement. We are here with the police security squad. Depending on the need or if the situation escalates, more personnel will be called in.”
At the house, Ajit received the emissaries sent by NCP chief Sharad Pawar to persuade him to resign from the post of deputy chief minister and return to the party fold. Sunil Tatkare, Hassan Mushrif and Dilip Valse-Patil arrived at Brighton around 3.45 pm, were with Ajit for about an hour, and left around 4.45 pm.
Appa Sahib Patil, a rural leader from Paithan, came to see Ajit around 7 pm. “He was sitting on a sofa and asked me to call him tomorrow around 7 am. We just wanted to let him know that he has our full support and of all farmers from Paithan whom he had helped,” he said.
Around 8 pm, state general secretary and NCP spokesperson Avinash Adik came to visit Ajit in another bid to persuade him to step down from his new post.
A local shopowner said Ajit is a frequent visitor to the sea-facing apartment and had stayed there on Friday as well.