In a significant development, all seven MLAs from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Nagaland have dealt a blow to Sharad Pawar by expressing their support for Ajit Pawar. The NCP legislators from the northeastern state issued a joint statement on Thursday, declaring their allegiance to Ajit Pawar, and this support extends to all party workers in the Nagaland NCP office as well.
The rift within the NCP surfaced earlier this month when Ajit Pawar, along with eight other NCP MLAs, decided to join the Maharashtra Shiv Sena and BJP alliance government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. This move led to a split in the party that was originally founded by Sharad Pawar.
Ajit Pawar’s maneuvering is reminiscent of Chief Minister Shinde’s departure from the Shiv Sena when Uddhav Thackeray was at the helm, ultimately resulting in Shinde taking control of the party. In 2019, the Shiv Sena ended its alliance with the BJP and formed the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, in conjunction with the Congress and NCP. However, the coalition government collapsed last year after Shinde parted ways with the NCP and aligned with the BJP to establish a new government.
In the ongoing power struggle, Ajit Pawar asserts his claim to the leadership of the “real NCP” and garners support from notable party figures such as Praful Patel, Chhagan Bhujbal, and Dilip Walse Patil. Simultaneously, Sharad Pawar maintains his leadership position in the party and has expelled several senior leaders for their alleged “anti-party activities.”
The situation remains fluid, and tensions persist as both factions within the NCP strive to assert their legitimacy as the true representatives of the party. As the political landscape continues to evolve, the impact of these internal divisions on the overall dynamics of the NCP and its future remains uncertain.