Mumbai: The ‘intrigue’ over the early morning government formation between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Ajit Pawar in 2019 simply refuses to end, with BJP leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday wittily remarked that he would eventually bring to light “the whole truth” about his short-lived government with Ajit Pawar.
Speaking to newspersons in Ahmednagar, the DCM remarked, “All details will gradually surface and you (media) will learn about it. What is in the public domain is only half the truth. I will eventually bring out the whole truth of the affair.”
It may be recalled that Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar had startled Maharashtra in November 2019 when the duo was sworn-in as Maharashtra CM and Deputy CM respectively in an early morning ceremony. To 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, NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s iron hand soon prevailed following which Ajit Pawar resigned as Deputy Chief Minister in less than 80 hours, only to occupy the same post in the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ (MVA) government (comprising of Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress) formed soon after with Uddhav Thackeray as the Chief Minister.
However, Fadnavis has once again reignited the buzz around the topic after he, in a recent interview to a vernacular TV channel, said 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.
On Wednesday, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule further alleged that while Sharad Pawar was “not averse” to an alliance with the BJP after the 2019 Assembly elections, the NCP chief had a caveat that Fadnavis should not become the CM.
The state BJP president further remarked, “Sharad Pawar has this bias against Devendra Fadnavis. His single agenda was to keep Fadnavis away from the CM’s post. Had the BJP accepted Pawar’s demand of not making Fadnavis the CM in 2019, then the NCP would have given the go-ahead for the alliance.”
Meanwhile, Pawar senior has denounced Fadnavis’ revelations as “false” while cryptically commenting that the President’s rule in Maharashtra could only have been lifted after his nephew (Ajit Pawar) formed the short-lived government with Fadnavis.
“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 could Uddhav Thackeray have been the Chief Minister (of previous ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ government)?” Sharad Pawar had said on February 22 in Pimpri-Chinchwad.