In an apparent thaw in relations, Supriya Sule, the NCP MP and daughter of Sharad Pawar, Wednesday greeted her cousin Ajit Pawar, who broke ranks to join hands with the BJP to form the government, with a warm hug ahead of the special session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
Sule was standing at the Vidhan Bhavan’s entrance to greet her party legislators. Pawar was subsequently greeted with thumping of desks from NCP members when he went to the podium to take oath. Follow | LIVE updates on Maharashtra government formation
Ajit Pawar hugs NCP’s Supriya Sule outside Maharashtra Assembly.
NCP leaders Ajit, Chhagan Bhujbal, Congress’ Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj and Aaditya Thackeray of Shiv Sena were among the members to take oath early.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ajit had stepped down as Deputy Chief Minister following the Supreme Court’s order for a floor test. Minutes later, Devendra Fadnavis also resigned, thereby drawing the curtain on his three-day-old government and clearing the decks for a Shiv Sena-led government with NCP and Congress as partners.
After Ajit’s rebellion against his own party to back a BJP government led by Fadnavis on Saturday, a visibly moved Sule in her WhatsApp status had then said the Pawar family and the party had split. “Who do you trust in life. Never felt so cheated in life. Defended him, loved him. Look what I get in return,” she had said in another status post, about Ajit Pawar.
I am in NCP, will remain in NCP: Ajit Pawar
Before administering oath in Maharashtra Assembly, Ajit said he continues to be in NCP and there is no need to create confusion about it.
“I have nothing to say (right now), I will speak at the right time. I had said earlier also, I am in the NCP and I will remain in the NCP. There is no reason to create confusion,” Ajit told reporters present at the Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai.
Last night, after giving up his post as the deputy chief minister, Ajit visited Silver Oak residence of his uncle and NCP president Sharad Pawar. “It is my right to meet my leader,” he said about the visit. Ajit had cited “personal reasons” for his resignation.
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Members of the extended Pawar clan, including Sadanand Sule — the husband of Supriya Sule — also met Ajit and attempts were made to woo him. “Calls were made by all family members, including Pratibha tai (Sharad Pawar’s wife), asking him to reconsider,” a close associate of Ajit said.
Ever since Ajit went astray, last week on November 23, to form a government with BJP, his relations with the party, especially Sharad Pawar remains strained. Although Ajit was removed as leader of the NCP legislature party after he joined hands with Fadnavis, he was not expelled from the party.
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