Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar appeared to be reconsidering his stance on his rebel nephew Ajit Pawar on Friday. This shift came in response to a statement that gained traction on social media, reportedly quoting Senior Pawar as saying ‘Ajit Pawar is our leader’. In clarification, the NCP chief refuted the claim, asserting, “I did not make a statement declaring Ajit Pawar as our leader.” He attributed the confusion to media misinterpretation, emphasising that his remarks got tangled with those of his daughter, MP Supriya Sule.
“I am not saying that Ajit Pawar is our leader. Supriya Sule had said that. They are like siblings and there is no need to look for a political meaning behind this. I did not say that Ajit Pawar is our leader. This is your (media’s) fault. That was said by Supriya and it also appeared in newspapers. Given the kind of stand he has taken, he is not our leader,” Sharad Pawar said.
Earlier in the day, several media reports claimed that Sharad Pawar, in a press conference at Baramati, said his nephew Ajit Pawar is still their party leader and that there was no split in the party. Pawar’s remark came a day after his daughter and NCP MP Supriya Sule made a statement along the same lines.
“Ajit Pawar is our leader. There is no dispute about it. What is the meaning of split? When does a split take place in a party? If a big group breaks away from the party at the national level, then it is a split. If some people have taken a different stand, it is their right in a democracy. If they have taken a different stand, it does not mean the party has split. It is their decision,” Pawar was quoted as saying.
On Thursday, Sule also commented that there exists no division within the party and pointed fingers at the BJP for the inclusion of certain NCP MLAs into the ruling coalition. “The party has not split at all, some took a different stand of going with the BJP. We have complained to the Assembly Speaker to take action against them,” she had said.