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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Ajit Pawar's atonement leaves party uneasy

Ketaki Ghoge, Hindustan Times   April 15, 2013
First Published: 01:17 IST(15/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:50 IST(15/4/2013)

A day after Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar snubbed his nephew and tried to end the controversy over Ajit Pawar’s crude remarks on drought, the deputy chief minister reopened the issue by undertaking penance.

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To start with, Ajit Pawar decided to undertake the penance at the memorial of YB Chavan, the state’s first CM, at Karad in Satara without informing his uncle about his plan.

Experts and insiders view this move as a signal that the divide in the party between uncle, who wants to have the last word, and nephew, who is unwilling to concede to a boss, will grow.

“Pawar saheb has given the state’s reins to Ajit Pawar and he has established himself in such a way that there are no real rivals. But Ajit's challenge to his uncle, however tacit, is apparent. He is impatient and wants to make it clear that he can handle his controversies,” said an NCP leader. This is not the first time that the party has been pulled in different directions, between old-timers and Ajit’s loyalists. Pawar vs Pawar: reading between the lines

In 2012, when Ajit resigned in a huff, the state leadership and Delhi leaders were speaking different languages until the party chief stepped in. While Pawar did not want to rock the boat at the Centre, Ajit was willing to jeopardise the government to get the CM out. On Sunday, not many senior leaders visited the venue where Ajit was undertaking penance, as Sharad Pawar had snubbed his nephew a day earlier.  But, Ajit, sources said, is capable of splitting the party if pushed to the corner. Officially, leaders refuted any such divide.

“Please don’t read politics in this,” said  RR Patil, who reached Karad late afternoon and managed to defuse the situation. Sources said Pawar had asked Patil to do the job, even as Ajit was asked to leave without speaking to the media. The NCP chief may have managed the situation again, but there is no knowing when his temperamental nephew will overstep his authority.


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