Mumbai: Amid the fierce power tussle in the NCP, between rival factions led by Ajit Pawar and his uncle Sharad Pawar, the former, along with fellow deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis reached Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's official residence, 'Varsha', in Mumbai for a meeting with him on Monday night.
Bhujbal Reacts On Abondoning Ideology Allegations
Meanwhile, Maharashtra cabinet minister Chhagan Bhujbal said though they have aligned with the Bharatiya Janata Party, they have not abandoned their "ideology", and criticised NCP founder Sharad Pawar for changing his stand on joining hands with the BJP on multiple occasions.
Bhujbal claimed 45 of the 53 NCP MLAs have gone with Ajit Pawar and said, "What would have I done by remaining outside." Speaking to reporters at Mahatma Phule Wada in Pune on Monday, Bhujbal said Sharad Pawar announced support to the BJP in 2014 after it formed government following the Assembly polls without the Shiv Sena's backing.
Bhujbal Attacks Sharad Pawar
"That time I wondered and said we are in the Opposition. In 2017 also, when I was in jail, five leaders from the NCP and five leaders from the BJP discussed about NCP's induction in the government. That time, the BJP was told to drop its ally Shiv Sena to pave the way for a BJP-NCP government. Then also he (Pawar senior) backtracked," he claimed.
Asked whether he has changed his ideology, from being a follower of social reformers like Mahatma Phule to now aligning with Hindutva forces, Bhujbal said they have not merged with the BJP.
"Nitish Kumar (Bihar CM) was with them (BJP), he left...Mamata Banerjee was there (in BJP-led NDA), she came out. Though we have aligned with them, we have not left our ideology," he said.
Bhujbal and eight other NCP MLAs, including Ajit Pawar, took oath as cabinet ministers in the Eknath Shinde government on July 2 after breaking away from the 24-year-old party. Ajit Pawar took over as deputy chief minister.
Ramdas Athawale met Chhagan Bhujbal
Earlier, on Monday, Union Minister of State for Social Justice, Ramdas Athawale met state minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who was the dissident Nationalist Congress Party leaders to have joined the Eknath Shinde-led government along with Ajit Pawar in the wake of a split down the middle in the party.
Ramdas Athawale met Ajit Pawar
On Thursday, Athawale met Ajit Pawar at the latter's residence in Mumbai.
After the meeting, Athawale, who heads the Republican Party of India, reacted to merging of the Ajit Pawar-led faction of the NCP with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) alliance, saying that the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA will weaken further in light of this development.
Maharashtra has been witnessing hectic political developments ever since the split in the NCP happened.