Ajit Pawar, in race for Dy CM, tweets congrats to ‘Hon Uddhav Thackeray ji’
Ajit Pawar, the Nationalist Congress Party leader who pulled off an aborted coup along with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis last week, congratulated Maharashtra’s freshly minted chief minister Uddhav Thackeray after his swearing-in on Thursday evening.
In a rare tweet, addressed to 59-year-old Shiv Sena boss, Ajit Pawar said the state would develop as a whole under Thackeray’s leadership.
“Congratulations & best wishes to the Shiv Sena Party Chief Hon. Uddhav Thackeray ji on becoming the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Under his leadership, the State will develop as a whole!,” Ajit Pawar, 60, tweeted after the oath event ended.
Ajit Pawar was also present at Shivaji Park to witness Thackeray’s swearing-in as chief minister that he had attended, in his words, “as an MLA” and not a minister.
Asked whether he believes it was a mistake to take oath as deputy chief minister by teaming up with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar said “I do not wish to talk about it here today. Today is not the day to talk about it. It is the day for Maharashtra’s CM to be sworn in.”
Ajit Pawar was never expelled from the NCP for his dramatic volte-face that left the party red-faced when he appeared on television screens early on Saturday morning being sworn in by Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
“I am not a rebel. Do not use such words for me. I am in NCP and will always be in NCP. Sharad Pawar is our leader,” Pawar said this evening.
On Wednesday, posters projecting Ajit Pawar as future chief minister of Maharashtra cropped up in his home constituency Baramati in Pune district.
“Dada (Ajit), you won the assembly elections by the highest margin in Maharashtra which has accepted your leadership. Maharashtra needs you and you cannot stop now,” reads the message on the poster which is in Marathi.
“Entire Maharashtra is looking at you as a future chief minister. Now, let us take the decision what you have to do,” it said.
Ajit Pawar is believed to be back in the race for the Deputy Chief Minister’s post from the NCP’s quota; a race that he had already won before he delivered his shocker last week to team up with Fadnavis and let the opportunity slip away.
That government led by Fadnavis lasted just about 80 hours. Ajit Pawar, the deputy chief minister, had pledged the support of NCP legislators to the BJP. But NCP boss Sharad Pawar appeared to have outsmarted him by getting most of the NCP legislators to fall in line.
The Supreme Court order to Fadnavis to quickly face the trust vote convinced Ajit Pawar to read the writing on the wall and resign.
Even during his short stint with the BJP, the NCP legislator never once spoke against Sharad Pawar and called him “my leader”.
Ajit Pawar had said that he allied with the BJP “for the sake of farmers”. Sharad Pawar distanced himself from his nephew and went all out to bring the dissident MLAs back to NCP, including the nephew.