Knew of Ajit-Fadnavis Talks, But Not of What He Did Next: Sharad

Pawar said he was aware Ajit was in contact with Fadnavis but had no inkling of his taking office as deputy CM.

3 min read
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The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday, 3 December, revealed that his party was in touch with the BJP along with its talks with the Shiv Sena and the Congress amid the political turmoil in Maharashtra, in an interview to NDTV.

Pawar revealed that Ajit walked out after a heated discussion with Congress leaders over portfolios on 22 November, the night before BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit were sworn in as the chief minister and the deputy chief minister respectively.

Pawar said he was aware that his nephew Ajit was in contact with Fadnavis but had no inkling of his taking office as deputy chief minister.

"Some of the Congress leaders had heated discussions with me. So Ajit thought if they were going to treat me like that, how would the alliance work. So after that, he went to meet Fadnavis," the NCP chief told NDTV.

Sharad, however, added that Ajit has accepted his mistake and will not repeat it again.


‘Not Difficult to Work With Sena Compared to BJP’

Pawar asserted that an alliance with the Shiv Sena was "not difficult", compared to a tie-up with the BJP.

Seen as the architect of the alliance between the avowedly secular Congress-NCP and the Shiv Sena, an aggressive proponent of Hindutva for decades, Pawar said there was "perfect understanding" among the ideologically diverse allies and expressed confidence that the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government would complete its term.

Speaking about his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the NCP chief told NDTV that he conveyed to the PM that it would not be possible for his party to work with the BJP.

"For us, it was not difficult to work with the Sena as compared to the BJP. That was not the route we could have taken," Pawar said.

'Never Thought We'll Form Govt in Maharashtra'

Pawar said his party never thought that they would be able to form the government in Maharashtra.

"We were watching the developments in Maharashtra very closely. We knew about the BJP-Shiv Sena equation but after a while we read in media about their differences. The understanding between them was not honoured, which is why Shiv Sena started getting unhappy day by day. The commitment made to them was not fulfilled," Pawar told NDTV.

Sharad was talking about the 50:50 seat-sharing formula that the Shiv Sena claimed was decided before the polls. The BJP had said that no decision was ever reached on the formula.

It was this fallout that paved the road for discussions between Pawar and Sena's Sanjay Raut.

Sharad's comments come a day after he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed that they "work together" but he refused.


'Did Not Have Any Pre-Poll Talks With Shiv Sena'

On being asked if there any pre-poll discussions with Shiv Sena, Sharad promptly shook his head and said, "No. We never thought we'll get to the point of forming a government in the state."

“We were fighting the BJP and Shiv Sena in the last election, hence there was no thought of associating a dialogue with Sena prior to the Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha elections,” Pawar said.

The NCP chief said the party's MLAs attended the oath-taking ceremony of Fadnavis because they were under the impression that it was happening under his approval.

"Upon seeing Fadnavis, they realised something was fishy and most of them came running back to my place to inform me. That's when I put aside all of my work and took control of the situation," Pawar told NDTV.

(With inputs from NDTV.)

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