Mumbai: In a Sunday of political shocks and jolts, Maharashtra’s new Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar now staked claim over Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), founded by his uncle Sharad Pawar and having entered its Silver Jubilee year last month, and its symbol ‘clock’.
Addressing a crownded media conference, Ajit Pawar, 64, who took oath as Deputy CM for the 5th time, said that the entire NCP is with him and he had blessings of everyone in the party.
Giving a peek into the top-secret political drama which erupted on Sunday, Pawar revealed that he had already resigned as the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s Leader of Opposition in the Assembly on last Friday.
Interestingly, the date was June 30 – the first anniversary of the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis – though the MVA was blissfully unaware of the goings-on for over 60 hours till Sunday afternoon.
“We had been negotiating this for many days. I quit as the LOP on Friday, and after discussions with my colleagues, we took the plunge. The entire NCP is with me and we have joined the government as ‘NCP’. We shall also fight all the future polls – civic, Assembly, and parliament elections under the same name and symbol,” he asserted.
To a pointed query whether he had support of NCP President Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar said diplomatically: “We have the blessings of all the seniors in the party, all the MLAs, MPs and leaders are with us.”
Asked how the NCP could ally with the BJP, Ajit Pawar shot back that if the NCP could join the Shiv Sena (of ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray), and the BJP in Nagaland, then it could also go with the Shiv Sena of Shinde and the BJP alliance in Maharashtra.
He also gave full marks to Shinde who “is working well as the CM” and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for leading the nation strongly ahead on the path of progress and development has earned laurels from all over the world.