Published On: Wed, Jul 5th, 2023

‘You are 83, will you ever stop?’: Ajit Pawar asks uncle Sharad

Mumbai: Taking a jibe at his uncle, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and rebel NCP faction leader Ajit Pawar on Wednesday asked Sharad Pawar to take retirement from his long political career now.

Nine NCP MLAs, including Ajit Pawar, were sworn in as ministers in the Maharashtra government

“You are 83, will you ever stop? I request you to take rest now,” Ajit Pawar said while addressing a gathering of his supporters and MLAs and MPs of his faction that claims to be the real NCP.

Mocking the Maratha strongman and his uncle, Ajit Pawar said, “You portrayed me as a villain in front of everyone. I still have deep respect for him (Sharad Pawar)…But you tell me, IAS officers retire at 60…even in politics, BJP leaders retire at 75. You can see the example of LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi…That allows the new generation to rise…You (Sharad Pawar) give us your blessings…The other day, he went to the YB Chavan Memorial…I have also been there…but you are 83, aren’t you going to stop?…. Give us your blessings and we will pray that you live a long life.”

Ajit Pawar also claimed that in 2017, the NCP had attempted to join hands with the BJP, but the saffron party refused to ditch Shiv Sena. “In 2017, we were told by Sahard Pawar to hold discussions with Devendra Fadanvis, Chandrakant Patil to finalise portfolio sharing. Me, Sunil Tatkare, and Jayant Patil were present. In Delhi, Pawar Saheb met the BJP high command. The BJP told him that they wouldn’t ditch Shiv Sena and asked to form a three-party government. Pawar Saheb did not agree and said ‘we won’t form a government with Shiv Sena,” Ajit Pawar said.

He also expressed his desire to become the Maharashtra chief minister to “implement certain plans I have for people’s welfare.”

The factional fight in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has reached the doorstep of the Election Commission with the group led by Ajit Pawar filing over 40 affidavits of MLAs and MPs in his support. According to reports, Ajit Pawar, who leads the number game at the moment with more MLAs than his uncle Sharad Pawar, has approached the poll panel for party name and symbol

Meanwhile, the Sharad Pawar camp has filed a caveat with the poll authority urging it to hear them first before passing any directive in connection with the factional fight, Election Commission sources said. The Election Commission is likely to process applications in the coming days and ask both sides to exchange the respective documents submitted before it.

Earlier, the two factions – Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar – on Wednesday held separate meetings with their MLAs in Mumbai. As many as 31 of 53 NCP MLAs were present at the party meeting convened by Ajit Pawar, while the Sharad Pawar camp had only 10 legislators till the last update.

The meetings came after the two factions announced crucial appointments to assert their control over the party. The NCP, founded by Sharad Pawar in 1999, witnessed a split on Sunday with Ajit Pawar, claiming the support of over 40 MLAs and joining the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition government in Maharashtra.

Nine NCP MLAs, including Ajit Pawar, were sworn in as ministers in the Maharashtra government at a surprise cabinet expansion on Sunday. Ajit Pawar, with senior party leaders Praful Patel, Chhagan Bhujbal, and Dilip Walse Patil by his side, asserted to be the real NCP.

Sharad Pawar also asserted to be the real NCP and expelled Praful Patel and Lok Sabha member Sunil Tatkare from the party. Sharad Pawar has removed his close aide Praful Patel and Sunil Tatkare from the party for “anti-party activities”.

“Your actions of supporting Ajit Pawar and the eight other MLAs, who have sworn oath as Ministers in violation of the party’s direction and mandate, ex-facie amount to anti-party activities and that you deemed to have voluntarily left the membership of Nationalist Congress Party,” Pawar said in a communication which was also sent to the two party MPs.

The communication said the action of MPs, “in a surreptitious manner, without the knowledge or consent of the party president, amounts to the desertion of the party, which in turn invites disqualification from primary membership”.

Praful Patel, a Rajya Sabha MP, has been a close associate of Pawar and was appointed working president of NCP last month. He was a minister in the Congress-led UPA government along with Pawar. Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule had written to him for action against the two MPs.

“I formally remove your names from the Membership Register of the Party in view of your actions of voluntarily giving up membership of the Nationalist Congress Party,” it said.

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