Mumbai: The early morning swearing-in ceremony in 2019 of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis and his nephew, the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Ajit Pawar had the “one good outcome” that of ending President’s rule in Maharashtra, said NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday.
“Had (Fadnavis’) morning swearing-in with Ajit Pawar not happened, then the President’s rule would not have been lifted. If the President’s rule would not have been lifted, then how could Uddhav Thackeray have become the Chief Minister (of Maha Vikas Aghadi’ – MVA government)?” remarked the NCP chief.
Speaking to media persons here in Pimpri-Chinchwad, while campaigning for the MVA’s candidate ahead of the Assembly by-polls, the NCP chief was replying to queries over Fadnavis’ recent comments that the BJP’s attempt at forming a government with Ajit Pawar in 2019 was done with the knowledge – and had the support – of NCP chief Sharad Pawar himself.
When asked to clear the air on events of 2019, Pawar slyly remarked, “There was an attempt to form a government…the good that came of it was that it helped lift the President’s rule in the State. Everyone has witnessed what happened after that.”
When asked why Ajit Pawar was still tight-lipped about the issue, the senior Pawar said he did not see any need to comment on it.
After the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly election results, after the BJP fell-out with its long-standing ally – the Shiv Sena – over the CM’s post, Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar had startled Maharashtra with their early morning government formation coup.
For the NCP and other parties’, it appeared that Ajit had staged an intra-party rebellion and was trying to form a government with the BJP by taking his own faction of MLAs within the NCP. However, soon Sharad Pawar’s iron hand prevailed and the NCP failed to ‘split’ despite his nephew’s (Ajit Pawar) temporary defection, following which Ajit Pawar resigned as Deputy Chief Minister in less than 80 hours.
A little over a week ago, Fadnavis, in an interview to a vernacular news channel, had claimed that the move in 2019 had the alleged support of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
Fadnavis had claimed that the BJP decided to go ahead and hold talks (with the NCP) after none of the major parties could secure a simple majority in the 2019 Assembly election.
Fadnavis remarked, “We had an offer from the NCP who said they needed a stable government and we should form such a government together. We decided to go ahead and hold talks which happened with Sharad Pawar. Then things changed and everyone has seen how they changed.”
Currently the Deputy CM, Fadnavis also said that Ajit Pawar had taken the oath with him with “honest intentions,” but that the NCP’s strategy had later changed. However, Sharad Pawar had snubbed Devendra Fadnavis, remarking that he could not believe that the BJP leader would take recourse to falsehood to make such a statement.
“I felt that Devendra is a cultured person and a gentleman. I never felt that he would take recourse to falsehood and make such a statement,” remarked the NCP chief.