Hours after senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar joined hands with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and took oath as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said his party does not endorse the decision taken by his nephew Ajit Pawar.
“Ajit Pawar's decision to support the BJP to form the Maharashtra Government is his personal decision and not that of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). We place on record that we do not support or endorse this decision of his," Sharad Pawar said in a tweet on Saturday morning.
In effect, Sharad Pawar's tweet could confirm speculations that Ajit Pawar may have broken away from the NCP to join hands with the BJP. While the NCP on its own had 54 MLAs, there is no clarity immediately as to how many MLAs support does Ajit Pawar have. BJP alone has 105 seats in the 288 member legislative assemby of Maharashtra.
In the wake of the ongoing political drama in Maharashtra, on Saturday morning, in an official notification, President Ram Nath Kovind also revoked president's rule in the state -- two weeks after it had been imposed following a political deadlock.
Senior NCP leader and former union minister Praful Patel on Saturday morning too told reporters that Ajit Pawar's decision was not NCP's and did not have the backing of Sharad Pawar.
“Ajit Pawar was with us till last night but he did not make eye contact through out the meeting. His body language was suspicious and I believe even Sharad Pawar could see it. Ajit Pawar then stepped out and his phone was switched off. We were told he had gone to meet his lawyers, now we know which lawyer this was," Shiv Sena's spokesperson Sanjay Raut said in a press conference on Saturday morning
“I can also say that this does not have endorsement of Sharad Pawar. Ajit Pawar has backstabbed Maharashtra, he has stolen and sinned in the dark," Raut said adding that both Pawar and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray could hold a joint press conference soon over the issue.
Congress' reaction too poured in on Saturday as it said people's mandate has been cheated with. “Cheating with mandate, ransom for democracy," Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala posted on Twitter on Saturday morning.
In a dramatic turn of overnight events, arch rivals Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Ajit Pawar joined hands to form government in Maharashtra on early Saturday morning. The development came less than 12 hours after NCP chief Sharad Pawar announced unanimity over the choice of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to be backed by NCP and Congress.
On Saturday morning, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis returned to the top post and took oath at Raj Bhawan in Mumbai followed by senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar taking oath as the deputy chief minister. The oath was administered by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at the Raj Bhawan.