Maha Politics: Sule, Pawar strike back at Ajit

Ajit Pawar NCP

Rama Krishna Sangem

NCP president Sharad Pawar and his daughter and working president Supriya Sule on July 3, Monday strike back at Ajit Pwar, who split the party and became Dy CM in Eknath Shinde government on Sunday.  Sule wrote to her father and party chief Sharad Pawar seeking disqualification action against rebel MLAs who switched over to BJP led camp the previous day.

After watching in helpless the split in NCP where Ajit along with eight others joined Shinde Cabinet and claimed backing of 40 out of 53 MLAs on Sunday, the Sharad Pawar  camp – that claims to be the official party, struck back the next day. This strike is unusually led by Supriya Sule, who wrote a letter to her father seeking action against two key persons – Praful Patel and Sunil Tatkare, responsible for the split.

Interestingly, Sule did not mention her cousin brother Ajit in her letter. This political analysts see as a tactic to put pressure on Ajit and his followers to return to Sharad Pawar. Sule thinks that her brother Ajit is amenable to pressure and can easily be won over. This happened in the past too. In 2019 when Ajit first became Dy CM in Fadnavis government for barely 80 hours, Sule played the diplomacy role and contacted her brother.


Now, Numbers games and Legal battle

So, it is not going to be easy for Ajit Pawar camp now. Sule and Sharad Pawar have indicated that they will launch three way attack on Ajit camp: First, to initiate disqualification proceedings against those who went with Ajit, Two, to take the matters to the court, seeking direction to the speaker to disqualify the rebel MLAs, Three, to go to people and build agitation against the rebels.

As of now, Ajit seems to have command over just 24 MLAs out of the total 53 of NCP in the Assembly with 288 strength. Of the remaining, only 14 are solidly with Sharad Pawar while another 15 MLAs are fence sitters – they are watching  developments. Mumbai media says, these 15 fence sitters are now incommunicado – they either switched off their mobiles or out of reach.

We all remember, how Uddhav Thackeray too launched a legal battle for Shiv Sena’s election symbol and for restoration of his government in the Supreme Court. He failed to get the symbol, but got some solace in the apex court which faulted with then Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyar’s decision to invite Shinde to become CM. The SC in its verdict indirectly recognized the right of Udhav as the party chief over the party.

If same logic is applied by courts now, then Sharad Pawar will have final say in the party matters and Ajit is bound to lose his claims over the party. Even to escape disqualification, Ajit will have to muster not less than 36 MLAs to his side. But, going by Sule and Sharad Pawar efforts to take the party under their control at NCP convention at Pune, on July 6, Ait will be in soup. Known for his weak moral courage, Ajit may even once again return to Sharad Pawar.

Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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