NCP and Cong defectors share stage with Pawar, Thackeray
Former leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, who had defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of elections, shared the dais with NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray at a function of the Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) in Pune.
There is speculation that some legislators who defected to the BJP may return to the Congress-NCP as their politics depended on the co-operative sector.
Former deputy chief minister Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, formerly from NCP, and ex-Congressman Harshvardhan Patil shared the dais with Pawar and Thackeray.
While senior Pawar asked Vijaysinh Mohite Patil to join him on the dais. Ajit Pawar made changes in the seating arrangement to get BJP leader Harshawardhan Patil sit next to him. Mohite Patil, a long-time aide of Pawar, left the NCP and joined the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Patil joined the BJP just ahead of the 2019 Assembly elections, but lost his seat to the NCP candidate. Significantly, both are considered bigwigs in the co-operative sector and the BJP was happy to get both leaders into its fold.
When asked, Mohite Patil said the discussion between him and Pawar was “generic” and there were no political talks. Patil, too, denied any political discussion between him and Ajit Pawar. “As there was a seat vacant between both of us, Ajit Pawar changed the arrangement,” said Patil. Mohite Patil said that he was still with the NCP, although his son had joined the BJP.
Meanwhile, Thackeray took a dig at BJP and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, saying it was NCP chief Sharad Pawar who taught them how to form a government with less seats. “Sharad Pawar has taught us how to raise farm productivity and also how to form a government with less number of MLAs in the legislative Assembly,” said Thackeray, taunting BJP by saying that now no one can say they can come to power even when they have the numbers.