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Day 1 of Maha Assembly: NCP Factions on Opposite Sides; Ajit Meets Sharad Pawar

The first Assembly session since Ajit Pawar joined the government, both NCP factions sat on opposite sides.

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A day after the leaders of his faction paid a 'personal' visit to Pratibha Pawar who underwent a surgery, Ajit Pawar and his MLAs paid an unannounced visit to Sharad Pawar at the YB Chavan Centre in Mumbai where the NCP supremo was to hold a meeting of the MLAs of his faction on Monday, 17 July.

The development came as the first day of the Maharashtra Assembly's Monsoon Session kicked off, MLAs of both factions sitting on opposite sides.

The first Assembly session since Ajit Pawar joined the government, both NCP factions sat on opposite sides.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar leaves after meeting Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar at YB Chavan Center, in Mumbai, Monday, July 17, 2023.

(Photo: PTI)

Why Ajit Faction Met Sharad Pawar

Addressing the media after the 1.5-hour-long meeting, MP Praful Patel said that the MLAs met Sharad Pawar to take his "blessings" and urged him to "keep the party united."

"Ajit Pawar and the MLAs met Sharad Pawar to take his blessings at the YB Chavan centre today. Yesterday, only ministers, Sunil Tatkare and I met him. The MLAs were in their constituencies so they could not come. Today, they are present in Mumbai for the Assembly session, so they met him to take his blessings," Patel said.

"Just like yesterday, we urged him to keep the party united," he added.

Patel further said that Sharad Pawar listened to them and heard their appeal as he did on Sunday.

The absence of many of the MLAs of both factions from the Assembly kept the ambiguity around the actual number of MLAs supporting both factions.

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What Happened at the Assembly Session

This is the first Assembly after Ajit Pawar split the NCP and joined the government as the deputy chief minister on 2 July.

The session began with chief minister Eknath Shinde giving a formal introduction of the newly-inducted ministers in the cabinet.

While the whip for the Ajit Pawar faction was issued by Anil Bhaidas Patil, the whip for the Sharad Pawar faction was issued by Jitendra Awhad.

The first Assembly session since Ajit Pawar joined the government, both NCP factions sat on opposite sides.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with other leaders after paying tribute to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at Vidhan Bhavan on the first day of Monsoon Session of Maharashtra Assembly, in Mumbai, Monday, July 17, 2023.

(Photo: PTI)

While MLAs of the Ajit Pawar faction sat on the benches of the ruling side, the MLAs of the Sharad Pawar faction sat on the Opposition's side.

Soon after Ajit Pawar's introduction, Sharad Pawar faction leader and MLA Jayant Patil jokingly said: "We go way back!"

Addressing the House, Ajit Pawar extended another olive branch to the MLAs of the Sharad Pawar faction, saying that "they need to be taken care of" just like all other MLAs.

A few MLAs of both sides were also absent from the session, with the exact strength of both sides still being unclear.

Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA, Aaditya Thackeray earlier joined a protest against the state government led by Congress MLAs ahead of the Session in the Assembly premise.

The first Assembly session since Ajit Pawar joined the government, both NCP factions sat on opposite sides.

Opposition leaders protest at Vidhan Bhavan on the first day of Monsoon Session of Maharashtra Assembly, in Mumbai, Monday, July 17, 2023.

(Photo: PTI)

Taking a jibe at the Eknath Sinde-led Shiv Sena, Thackeray said: "We all have seen what happened to the original traitors of the Shiv Sena. Somebody else came after them, got the cabinet extended, became ministers, but the original traitors are where they are."

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Topics:  NCP   Sharad Pawar   Ajit Pawar 

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