Ajit faction’s Beed strongman returns to uncle’s camp | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Ajit faction’s Beed strongman returns to uncle’s camp

By, Mumbai
Mar 21, 2024 09:44 AM IST

NCP's Bajrang Sonawane switches loyalty to Sharad Pawar faction, boosting party's prospects in Beed district. Jyoti Mete also likely to join.

Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) suffered a second jolt in a week as the party’s strongman in Beed district, Bajrang Sonawane, switched his loyalty to the faction led by Sharad Pawar on Wednesday.

Ajit faction’s Beed strongman returns to uncle’s camp
Ajit faction’s Beed strongman returns to uncle’s camp

“All of my supporters had been wanting to work under the leadership of Sharad Pawar for some time. They called a meeting eight to 10 days ago, but I could not attend it. To maintain the respect and dignity of five lakh voters in Beed district, I am joining the Sharad Pawar-led party,” Sonawane said after his induction at a programme in Pune where the Pawar senior was present.

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Last week, the Ajit Pawar-led party’s Ahmednagar MLA Nilesh Lanke joined NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar).

Sonawane’s name is being considered by NCP (SP) for Beed Lok Sabha constituency, sources said.

The return of Sonawane, who had sided with Ajit Pawar after a split in the party, will boost the party’s prospects in the district which has traditionally been an NCP stronghold. Of the six assembly seats under the Lok Sabha constituency, four are with NCP. However, only one MLA, Sandeep Kshirsagar, is still with Sharad Pawar while the other three — Dhananjay Munde, Prakash Solanke and Balasaheb Ajabe are in the other camp.

Sonawane was NCP’s candidate against BJP MP Pritam Munde in Beed constituency in the last Lok Sabha elections. He bagged 5.09 lakh votes and lost by a margin of 1.68 lakh votes. This time, BJP has nominated Pankaja Munde for the upcoming polls.

NCP (SP) is also considering Jyoti Mete as the party’s candidate for Beed constituency. She is the wife of Shiv Sangram chief, late Vinayak Mete, and is also likely to join the Pawar senior’s faction soon.

The two-term legislator from council, Mete was one of the most vocal voices for the Maratha community. He was at the forefront of protests organised by the community in 2016 and 2017 demanding reservation in government jobs and education. Later, the then chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, appointed him as head of a committee to execute an ambitious project to construct a grand memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea. He died in a road accident in August 2022 when he was coming from Beed to Mumbai in his SUV to attend a review meeting called by chief minister Eknath Shinde over Maratha reservation.

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    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

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