Sharad Pawar on taking back MLAs of nephew Ajit's camp: ‘Those who would help…’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Sharad Pawar on taking back MLAs of nephew Ajit's camp: ‘Those who would help…’

Jun 25, 2024 06:08 PM IST

However, the veteran NCP leader said those MLAs who would not "hurt" the image of the party would be taken back, but after consulting party leaders and workers.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-SP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday hinted that his party's doors remain open for those MLAs who defected to nephew Ajit Pawar's camp leading to a split in the party. Speaking to the media, the veteran NCP leader said those MLAs who would help to strengthen the organisation or had not hurt the party's image would be taken in.

The Sharad Pawar faction of NCP won eight of the 10 seats it contested while the Congress bagged 13 of 17 it contested with Shiv Sena (UBT) getting nine of 21 seats in the LS polls. (HT PHOTO)
The Sharad Pawar faction of NCP won eight of the 10 seats it contested while the Congress bagged 13 of 17 it contested with Shiv Sena (UBT) getting nine of 21 seats in the LS polls. (HT PHOTO)

“Those who wanted to weaken the party would not be taken in. But those leaders who would help strengthen the organisation and not hurt the image of the party would be taken in,” Pawar said.

“However, that too will happen after having a word with the party (NCP-SP) leaders and workers,” he added.

Also read | Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray could change stand on rebel MLAs

Sharad Pawar clarified that his nephew, Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, would not be welcomed back into the NCP fold. Ajit's faction currently aligns with the ruling Mahayuti coalition, which includes the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena.

The NCP split in July 2023 when Ajit Pawar and several MLAs joined the BJP-Shiv Sena government. In February, the Election Commission of India recognised Ajit Pawar's faction as the real NCP and allotted it the iconic “clock” symbol.

Speculation about potential returns to Sharad Pawar's camp has intensified following Ajit Pawar's faction's disappointing performance in the 2024 general elections. Ajit Pawar's NCP secured only one seat out of four contested in Maharashtra, whereas Sharad Pawar's NCP won eight out of ten seats it contested.

Also read | MVA presents a united front, says it will contest Maharashtra polls as one unit

The ruling Mahayuti coalition collectively won 17 of the 48 seats in the state, with the BJP winning nine and Shinde's Sena faction bagging seven.

Ajit Pawar's camp was reportedly upset over being offered the Minister of State (Mos) berth in the current NDA government. Praful Patel turned down the offer saying it would be a demotion for him as he had served as a Cabinet minister in the Union government earlier.

Speculations of MLAs returning to Sharad Pawar's camp are also significant ahead of the state assembly elections in October 2024.

Also read | 18-19 NCP MLAs of Ajit Pawar camp to switch after Monsoon session, claims Rohit Pawar

The opposition Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA), of which NCP-SP is a part, affirmed their intention to contest the upcoming assembly elections jointly.

NCP-SP leader Rohit Pawar claimed that 18 to 19 MLAs from Ajit Pawar's NCP are expected to defect after the forthcoming monsoon session of the state legislature.

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray had already ruled out the possibility of accepting leaders who had defected to chief minister Eknath Shinde's faction.

(With ANI inputs)

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