NCP chief Sharad Pawar Tuesday said he was aware that party leader and his nephew Ajit Pawar was in touch with Devendra Fadnavis, but didn’t know he would go so far as to join the BJP government.
In an interview to NDTV, the senior Pawar said BJP had approached the NCP for a “dialogue” even if they didn’t form a government together, and this dialogue was being held between Ajit and Fadnavis.
The NCP chief said Ajit took the step of supporting the BJP as he was unhappy at the way power-sharing talks with the Congress were shaping up. He said on November 22, there was a “heated discussion” among Congress and NCP leaders as the former were demanding extra portfolios, and both he and Ajit walked out of the meeting. It was after this that Ajit called Fadnavis, he said.
On Monday, in an interview with ABP Majha, Sharad Pawar had said Ajit’s rebellion never had his support. “There was a feeling among a section of society that Ajit Pawar’s rebellion had my support. However, by afternoon, when I held a press conference with Uddhav Thackeray, a strong message went out that it did not have my support. After which, the MLAs who had gone with Ajit Pawar started returning.”
On Tuesday, the NCP chief maintained that party workers wanted Ajit to be “forgiven”. He also didn’t rule out the possibility of Ajit getting the Deputy Cheif Minister’s post in the new government, saying NCP workers have “full respect” for him.
Pawar had on Monday claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi told him on November 20 that they should “work together”, but he declined the offer, saying it “will not be possible from the political point of view”.
With the comments making major waves, the NCP chief told NDTV that the PM asked for the NCP’s support, but “not in so many words”.
The NCP chief is being widely regarded as the architect of the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP coalition that has come to power in Maharashtra. Pawar said after the election results, he had decided to sit in the Opposition, but the alliance started taking shape after Sena’s Sanjay Raut contacted him, adding their “personal equation” helped in the talks.
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