Lone missing NCP MLA and Ajit Pawar loyalist, Anna Bansode from Pimpri, still not in party fold
With swiftly changing dynamics in the state, all political parties are doing their best to keep their flock together before the floor test. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has the toughest job of reconsolidating its ranks after the split between NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar. Members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) are divided on loyalty.
Till late Sunday night, the party had stated that four out of its 54 MLAs could not be contacted. However, on Monday morning, the NCP claimed that three of its four legislators returned to the party fold.
The one missing is member of legislative assembly from Pimpri, Anna Bansode. Bansode is an Ajit Pawar loyalist and was elected for the second time as the NCP legislator in the polls this year. Ajit Pawar had campaigned extensively for him.
Bansode’s absence amid the hectic political development after Ajit Pawar was sworn-in as the deputy chief minister, did not raise any eyebrows in the local political circles, given Bansode’s proximity to the senior NCP leader.
Senior NCP leaders, requesting anonymity, said that Bansode may back Ajit Pawar during the vote of confidence in the state assembly even as the efforts to track him down are on.
According to the NCP unit chief Jayant Patil, the party has managed to submit a letter to the governor having signatures of 51 out of 54 MLAs.
“Ajit Pawar, Anna Bansode and Dharmaraobaba Atram have not signed the letter. Bansode is in Pune while Atram had gone to Gurugram along with other NCP MLAs, but he informed us that he is with the party’s decision,” said Patil. Despite Patil stating that Bansode is in Pune, the MLA’s whereabouts are not known.
Bansode started his career as corporator and rose among the NCP ranks by becoming the standing committee chief in Pune Municipal Corporation, thanks to Ajit Pawar who once controlled the civic body.
Later, Bansode was elected to the assembly as a legislator in 2009. While he lost the elections in 2014, Bansode was once again elected to the assembly in 2019.
Flex war in Pimpri-Chinchwad
Once known to be a bastion of the Nationalist Congress Party, politics in the industrial town of Pimpri-Chinchwad was controlled by Ajit Pawar till the civic body went to the BJP in 2017. After Ajit Pawar’s rebellion, Pimpri-Chinchwad is divided. To show their loyalty, party workers have put up flexes of Ajit and Sharad Pawar in various parts of the town.