55 Days After NCP Breakup, Sharad Pawar Claims ‘No Split’


“Ajit Pawar is our leader and he has taken a different route… Just because of that there is no reason to call it a split,” said the 83-year-old NCP supremo while interacting with mediapersons.

PUNE — Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar on Friday again set Maharashtra politics in a flutter by claiming that his party has “not split” — 55 days after the breakaway group led by his nephew Ajit Pawar walked out to join the state government.

“Ajit Pawar is our leader and he has taken a different route… Just because of that there is no reason to call it a split,” said the 83-year-old NCP supremo while interacting with mediapersons.

Sharad Pawar said that the party is still united and all the leaders who have adopted a separate path “are also ours”.

“What is a split? When a large section of the party is separated at the national level, which is not the case here (in NCP). Some people have left taking a differing stance. Its their right in a democracy… There is no need to call it a split because of that,” he explained.

As the utterances fuelled speculation, a senior party leader explained that Sharad Pawar’s statement was with reference to the lack of legislative recognition to the Ajit Pawar-led group.

“The legislative group has yet to be recognised by the Speaker, unlike the case of the Eknath Shinde precedent… We have already informed the legislature and the Election Commission on the same. Hence, there is no justification to term it a ‘split’ till the legislative status is cleared,” the leader, preferring anonymity, told IANS.

Incidentally, Sharad Pawar’s ugly googly came a day after his daughter and NCP Working President Supriya Sule also took a similar stand, and her cousin, MLA Rohit Pawa also adopted the same stance on Friday.

“The NCP National President is Sharad Pawar Saheb, Maharashtra President is Jayant Patil. Ajit Pawar is also a senior legislator and leader of our party and we are all working together,” declared Sule.

Arguing that there was no “split”, Sule said they have made a representation in the matter of Ajit Pawar to the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker and the latter’s reply is awaited.

The sudden spate of statements — made sporadically in the past seven weeks — ignited the political atmosphere in the state, coming a week before the national opposition alliance INDI’s. third conclave scheduled to take place in Pune on August 31-September 1.

Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Congress’s Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Vijay Wadettiwar and Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Leader of Opposition (Council) Ambadas Danve frowned at the Pawar clan statements saying “they confuse the people and the MVA workers”.

The ruling alliance BBJP leaders like state chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Pravin Darekar and others said that “(Sharad) Pawar’s statements imply that he is fully supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s developmental policies, akin to Ajit Pawar”.

The NCP has also rejected theories that Pawar senior’s statements could create confusion in the party’s rank and file, and also drive a wedge in the INDIA alliance, reiterating that the party is very much part of the national opposition group.

The breakaway NCP faction of Ajit Pawar has been claiming since July 1 that there’s “no split” and Sharad Pawar continues to be their leader.

On at least two occasions, Ajit Pawar and his supporters had visited Sharad Pawar to pay their respects and “seek his blessings and guidance”. — IANS


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