Can Pawar Senior defuse crisis at NCP meet today?
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Can Pawar Senior defuse crisis at NCP meet today?

With NCP chief Sharad Pawar scheduled to meet party legislators today, the question on everyone's mind is this: will Pawar be able to resolve the crisis that began with resignation of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar?

mumbai Updated: Sep 28, 2012 01:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

With NCP chief Sharad Pawar scheduled to meet party legislators on Friday, the question on everyone's mind is this: will Pawar be able to resolve the crisis that began with resignation of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar?

The NCP seems to be in a damage control mode to avoid any escalation of the crisis. Even as official channels deny any rift within the party, there are signs of tension within the ranks over how the 4pm meeting at Vidhan Bhavan will pan out.

Sources told HT that Pawar Senior is not keen on a re-run of 2010, when his nephew and his supporters almost forced his hand in appointing him as the deputy chief minister. The drama then had left several senior party leaders, especially Chhagan Bhujbal, miffed with Ajit Pawar's show of strength.

It remains to be seen if the Ajit Pawar camp will display similar histrionics on Friday even after Pawar's rather clear message that the resignation issue is closed for the NCP.

Since his nephew tendered his resignation on Tuesday, Pawar has spoken to the media several times reiterating that there was no chance of the NCP moving out of the government at the state or the Centre.

Over the past two days, NCP MLAs supporting Ajit Pawar have been vocal in their protest against Chavan. "The legislators have been telling the party top brass that the CM isn't merely cornering the party, he is also not clearing work in their constituencies. If this persists, it would be difficult for them to face voters in 2014," said a senior party minister, who did not wish to be named. "The MLAs are likely to raise these issues when Pawar meets them and seek his intervention to solve this crisis, which has been highlighted by the resignation," he added.

Meanwhile, state NCP president Madhukar Pichad appealed to party workers to refrain from burning effigies of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, and from sending mass resignations.

"Ajit Pawar is our beloved leader. His resignation is an internal matter of the NCP. Party chief Sharad Pawar will take a decision on it... All party workers must maintain calm," Pichad said in the statement.

First Published: Sep 28, 2012 01:09 IST