18 Jun 2024

Maharashtra: Will MLAs of Ajit Pawar Camp Switch Sides, What Sharad Pawar's Grandnephew Rohit Pawar Claimed?

Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar) leader Rohit Pawar announced on Monday that 18 to 19 MLAs from the ruling NCP faction, led by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, plan to defect to their side after the upcoming monsoon session of the state legislature.

Speaking to reporters, Rohit Pawar highlighted that several NCP MLAs have maintained respect for party founder Sharad Pawar and other senior leaders even after the party's split in July 2023. 

"They need to attend the legislature session and secure development funds for their constituencies, so they will wait until the session ends before switching sides," explained Rohit Pawar, who is Sharad Pawar's grandnephew.

Rohit Pawar, an opposition legislator, asserted that 18 to 19 NCP MLAs are currently in contact with Sharad Pawar and are expected to join their faction after the monsoon session. The final decision on reintegrating these MLAs will be made by Sharad Pawar and other NCP (SP) leaders, according to Rohit, who is an MLA from Karjat-Jamkhed in Ahmednagar district.

Ajit Pawar-led faction claimed support of about 40 MLAs

The undivided NCP won 54 assembly seats in the 2019 elections. Following the party's split in July 2023, the Ajit Pawar-led faction claimed the support of approximately 40 MLAs. The monsoon session of the legislature is scheduled to begin on June 27 and conclude on July 12, marking the last session before the state heads into assembly elections in October.

Rohit Pawar also referred to NCP Rajya Sabha MP Praful Patel's statement about becoming a minister in the next Union Cabinet expansion.

"This means Praful Patel has full hold over Ajit Pawar's party. It needs to be checked if Ajit Pawar separated (split) for development or to save Praful Patel from the ED, " he asked.

The NCP (Ajit Pawar) on June 9 turned down the BJP's offer to accommodate Patel as a minister of state with independent charge in the new NDA government. The Ajit Pawar-led party is a BJP ally and constituent of the ruling NDA.

Praful Patel, the working president of BJP ally NCP (Ajit), argued that since he had already served as a Cabinet minister in the Union government, assuming office as a minister of state with independent charge would be a “demotion” for him.

In the recent Lok Sabha elections, the NCP (Sharad Pawar) won eight seats in Maharashtra, while the NCP secured just one. 

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