Ajit Pawar set to return as Maha deputy CM today

NCP leader Ajit Pawar with party leaders after a meeting in Mumbai on Friday. PTI/Santosh Hirlekar

Former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar will be inducted back into the state cabinet on Friday morning, two months after he resigned from the post in the wake of the irrigation scam.

Though the NCP leader’s comeback was imminent after the white paper on irrigation was accepted by the state and published, the decision to bring him back into the cabinet just four days before the assembly winter session came as dramatically as his resignation.

NCP state party president Madhukar Pichad who had earlier denied reports of Pawar’s return to the cabinet, confirmed the move on Thursday night.

The former deputy CM and nephew of NCP chief and union minister Sharad Pawar indicated his comeback to the media earlier on Thursday.

“My party workers and colleagues are demanding that I rejoin the cabinet. I’ll discuss this issue with my party’s senior leaders and a decision will be taken,’’ he had said.

“Ajit Pawar was speaking to his uncle through the day on Thursday. He insisted on taking charge immediately, pointing out that CM Prithviraj Chavan (of the Congress) was taking the NCP for granted and that the party was headless in the state,’’ said an NCP leader.

Ajit Pawar had resigned as deputy CM in the wake of allegations that during his tenure as irrigation minister, huge cost escalations of 38 irrigation projects worth Rs. 20,000 crore had been cleared in 2009. Of these, 32 were cleared in just three months before the election code of conduct came into force.

It was alleged that the government norms were bypassed to clear the projects by using Ajit’s discretionary powers.


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