Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew took fresh guard on Tuesday, a day after Chhagan Bhujbal was selected deputy chief minister.
Ajit Pawar said he had been under the wrong impression that the majority of legislators had supported him.
“Had I known it in advance then I would have asked senior leaders not to discuss my name at all,” said Ajit, NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew, on Tuesday. “The decision was taken in consultation with all. I’m not upset. I will continue to work for my party’s growth.”
Ajt said he did not believe in talk that he has been assured of deputy chief ministership after two years. “When we appoint anyone, we don’t put deadlines on their tenure.”
Tension prevailed in the NCP camp after Bhujbal’s selection as a section of the party’s legislators were unhappy. Some legislators including ministers Sunil Tatkare and Babanrao Pachpute were keen on Ajit's appointment.
On the other hand, ministers like Jayant Patil, Dilip Walse-Patil, Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar and Hasan Mushrif were keen that senior Pawar take a call on the matter.
There was speculation on Monday that Ajit was angry because he left the city immediately after legislators meeting. Ajit clarified that he had gone to New Delhi for “personal work”.
Sources close to him said Ajit met his uncle who gave him some advice on how to deal with the embarrassment.
“Ajitdada saying that he did not enjoy much support is Pawar senior’s calculated move to put intra-party fighting to rest for the time being,” said a senior NCP leader requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media. “Everybody knows that majority of the 62 MLAs are with him.”
The day after, Ajit showed who was in charge. He used his characteristic aggression to launch a scathing attack on the Congress. He asked the ally to mend its ways and give up being adamant on a bigger share in power. He said the NCP would not mind supporting the Congress from outside if it was denied a share of power in the new government.
“We have 75 legislators (including independents) with us and still the Congress is not ready to accept our suggestion. This is not fair,” Ajit told journalists at his official residence ‘Devgiri’.