Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ajit Pawar celebrates his birthday today. He shares his birthday with the other deputy CM, Devendra Fadnavis. They have made a joint decision not to observe their birthdays this Saturday, as a mark of respect for the lives lost in the Raigad's Irshalwadi landslide. The landslide has claimed at least 16 lives so far.
Additionally, they have canceled the birthday dinner that was initially scheduled for Thursday, considering the gravity of the tragedy. Both the Deputy Chief Ministers share the same birthday on July 22.
In spite of this, many took to Twitter to wish Ajit Pawar on his birthday.
The Assam Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted,
"Heartiest wishes to the Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Ajit Pawar ji, on his birthday. A grassroots leader and a seasoned administrator, he is on a mission to take Maharashtra to new heights. Prayers for his long and healthy life."
Pawar has also appealed to his party workers to abstain from any form of celebrations and to refrain from spending money on hoardings and bouquets. Instead, he urged them to extend their support to the families of the victims affected by the Raigad accident and assist underprivileged school children. He encouraged contributions to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund as a way of providing assistance and aid to those in need.
The junior Pawar, who took the nation by surprise earlier this month with the vertical split in the Nationalist Congress Party founded by his uncle Sharad Pawar, turns 64 on Saturday. Ajit Pawar claims leadership of the "real NCP" and has received support from senior party leaders like Praful Patel, Chhagan Bhujbal, and Dilip Walse Patil. Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar also asserts his leadership of the "real NCP" and has expelled several senior leaders for "anti-party activities."
Ajit Pawar has been the heart of most discussions since he joined the government. His move is similar to how Shinde separated from the Shiv Sena when Uddhav Thackeray was the Chief Minister and eventually gained control of the Shiv Sena. In 2019, the Shiv Sena ended its alliance with the BJP and formed the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, along with the Congress and NCP. However, that government collapsed last year after Shinde left the party and joined hands with the BJP to form a new government.