Mumbai: Suddenly out of job as Deputy Chief Minister, Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar is certainly not out of the reckoning, both within the family and party, as dramatic political events unfolded here all of Tuesday.
Contrary to speculation, he remained absent from the mega-meeting of the Maha Vikas Aghadi which unanimously elected Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray as the new CM, barely three hours after the 80-hour regime of Devendra Fadnavis who quit as CM this evening.
But he was not forgotten at the Maha Vikas Aghadi jamboree with at least two leaders, including former Deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal, making a reference and suggesting that he should be invited back to the NCP fold.
Shiv Sena leader and MLA from Aurangabad Abdul Sattar Nabi, while declining to comment on the NCP’s internal affairs, felt that the services of an experienced and senior leader like Ajit Pawar should be utilized for the benefit of the state.
On his part, Ajit Pawar has not fully burnt his bridges with either the family or the party, and has studiously refrained from reacting to any statements or actions by the NCP in the past four days.
He readily met all top leaders of the NCP at a series of meetings held since Sunday, till this morning, in a final meeting with some close family members reportedly at the instance of NCP President Sharad Pawar, that apparently helped his resolve to quit the sudden alliance with the BJP.
“Till the very last minute, there were murmurs that despite the claims of 162 made by the MVA parties, at least 12-15 of hard-core supporters could sour things for the proposed Thackeray-led governmenta But everything seems to have worked out favourably,” said a senior NCP leader, requesting anonymity.
However, the unprecedented ‘public parade’ of the 162 MLAs late on Monday, followed by the Supreme Court’s directives on the open ballot and live telecast of the assembly proceedings, proved to be the nemesis of the Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar two-man government.
Earlier today, Ajit Pawar is understood to have met Sadanand Sule, son-in-law of Sharad Pawar and Supriya’s husband, and apologized for his error, after which he went and handed over his resignation to Fadnavis.
According to reports late this evening, Ajit Pawar is likely to meet Sharad Pawar at lateer’s residence, but details were not available.
There was speculation in political circles that despite his wayward behavior in the past four days, the magnanimous Sharad Pawar may finally forgive-and-forget, and even consider him for a suitable rehabilitation within the party or the government.