It was SC verdict, not family pressure that forced Ajit Pawar retract

Mumbai: It was the Supreme Court and not his family which had a role to play in Ajit Pawar's decision to call off his rebellion. The Supreme Court ruling to hold open voting during the trust motion by pro tem speaker forced Ajit Pawar to retract from his decision to rebel against NCP’s party line.

The BJP brass had planned to form the government with the NCP. BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chalked out a secret strategy. The BJP operation began after the Shiv Sena failed to get a letter of support from the Congress on November 11.

A senior BJP leader based in New Delhi said, "We were aware that NCP leaders Praful Patel, Ajit Pawar, Dhananjay Munde and Sunil Tatkare were in favour of an alliance with the BJP. We contacted Patel and met him. He met us without informing Sharad Pawar.

Then we met Ajit Pawar and Dhananjay Munde, once again without Sharad Pawar's knowledge." The election of the Speaker is by secret ballot. Many NCP legislators were in support of Ajit and ready to help the BJP. As per the BJP's plan, NCP legislators in the Ajit Pawar camp would have voted for the BJP nominee during the Speaker election.

"As this vote is secret, their identities would not have been revealed. After winning the election, the Speaker would have adjourned the House for half-an-hour.

The NCP had earlier appointed Ajit Pawar as its legislative party leader and later, it replaced him with Jayant Patil. But the BJP and Ajit would have claimed that since his name was conveyed as the leader of the legislature party to the governor, it was he who should have the right to issue the whip.

The NCP would have objected. The Speaker would have ruled in favour of Ajit Pawar. Then Pawar would have issued a whip in BJP's favour. Thus there would have been no need to split the party and all legislators would have been forced to vote for the BJP-NCP alliance government," said the BJP leader.

"But Sharad Pawar stumped us. The Supreme Court judgment to conduct the trust vote through pro tem speaker and the live telecast of the proceedings thwarted our plans. As the party can issue whip when the pro-tem speaker conducts vote, there was no scope for Ajit Pawar.

Further, there was no scope of a ruling in his favour as the pro tem speaker has no such powers. The live telecast would have have exposed the legislators who had crossed over.

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