FPJ Exclusive: 'Deputy CM' bungalow Devgiri reserved for Ajit Pawar
BL Soni

Even though former deputy chief minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar is yet to join the Uddhav Thackeray-led cabinet, the Public Works Department has reserved the prized Devgiri bungalow in Malabar Hills for him.

Two senior ministers including Balasaheb Thorat (Congress) and Eknath Shinde (Shiv Sena) had evinced interest for the iconic bungalow,though their request was not entertained by the department and also by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

During Congress-NCP government (1999-2014) Ajit Pawar had occupied Devgiri and later it was the official residence of the former finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.

State government sources told Free Press Journal, ''The public works department had received requests from Thorat and Shinde after the swearing in ceremony held on November 28 for the allotment of Devgigi bungalow. However, the department had earlier received plea from Ajit Pawar's staff to reserve it. Therefore, Devgiri has not been allotted to the duo.''

Ajit Pawar last week hogged the limelight after he unilaterally decided to join hands with BJP and subsequently was sworn in as deputy chief minster on November 23. After high octane drama and emotional appeals from the party leaders and family members he resigned on November 25 as deputy chief minister reiterating his loyalty to his uncle and the party. NCP decided to defer his induction in the ministrty on November 28 following strong objections raised by Congress.

However, Ajit Pawar is set to get the ministerial berth in the ensuing cabinet expansion which is expected to take place after the conclusion of a week-long winter session on December 21. He will be made deputy chief minister as large number of party legislators believe that it was necessary for the stability of Maha Vikas Aghadi government and also to keep the NCP united.

Ajit Pawar has a special affection for Devgiri bungalow as he had stayed there for 15 years and had experienced several ups and downs. He had resigned as the deputy chief minister in September 2012 keeping NCP and Congress in dark. He had quit the government saying that he was tired of accuasions of his alleged involvement in the multi-crore irrigation scam.

Ajit Pawar had not left the bungalow but stayed there. He had withdrawn his resignation in October 2012 and had rejoned the government led by Prithviraj Chavan.

Meanwhile, the public works department has allotted Varsha to Thackeray, NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Jayant Patil have been given Ramtek and Seva Sadan respectively while Royal Stone to Shinde. Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has got Sagar bungalow in Malabar Hills.

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