Nationalist Congress Party’s Ajit Pawar, along with 9 party leaders, joined the Maharashtra government today. Mr Pawar will share the Deputy Chief Minister post with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis.
According to party sources, Ajit Pawar has the support of 43 out of the 53 NCP MLAs.
The move comes just days after Pawar publicly expressed his desire to step down as Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly.
Earlier today, a group of NCP legislators met at Ajit Pawar’s Mumbai residence, where the party’s working president Supriya Sule and senior leader Chhagan Bhujbal were also in attendance. State party president Jayant Patil was not present in the meeting.
Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar told reporters in Pune that he was unaware of the meeting in Mumbai.
“I do not know exactly why this meeting has been called but being the leader of the Opposition, he (Ajit Pawar) has the right to call a meeting of MLAs. He does that regularly. I don’t have much detail about this meeting,” Mr Pawar said.
The churn in the NCP comes a month after Sharad Pawar had resigned as party chief and then decided to take it back three days later as he “couldn’t disrespect the feelings of the masses”.
Ajit Pawar, who made a failed bid to align with the BJP in 2019 and was sworn-in as deputy chief minister in an early morning ceremony, had been vying the post of state president to resurrect his dwindling stature in the party.
While he has no party post, Sule and party leader Praful Patel were elevated to working presidents on June 10.