Mumbai: The portfolio allocation has raised a serious question about whether the NCP really puts a premium on such abstractions as loyalty to the party.
Jayant Patil, who stood with Sharad Pawar like a rock, could not get a key portfolio; but Ajit Pawar, who had his share of flip-flop, was rewarded with the Deputy Chief Minister’s post and the finance portfolio.
Patil was denied both – the Deputy CM’s post and the key portfolio. Patil has instead been entrusted with an innocuous portfolio like water resources department.
This has shocked many workers who are loyal to Sharad Pawar and the party. Patil has earlier worked as Finance and Home minister. After Ajit Pawar joined hands with the BJP to form the government on November 23, NCP and Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi suffered a major setback, albeit momentarily.
It was the Supreme Court judgment which forced Ajit to resign from the Deputy Chief Minister’s post and return to the NCP. Even in these testing times, Jayant played a key role in convincing Ajit to end his revolt.
He did his best to keep the party and family united. It is to be noted that the Congress-NCP combine had lost the election in 2014 due to serious allegations of corruption against Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare.
Before the Assembly elections, en mass desertions had taken place in NCP. BJP was also eyeing Patil as he has a mass base in Sangli district. But he firmly stood with Sharad Pawar and as a party state president was a source of confidence for party workers who were fidgety after the defections.
His thrust was on running an effective campaign, managing electoral booths and selecting candidates with elective merit and popular appeal.
Pawar's magic and Patil’s logistical support ensured NCP’s victory on 54 seats. The mass outreach programmes like Hallabol, Sangharsha, Parivartan and Shiv-swarajya helped expose the Devendra Fadnavis government.
As per the NCP tradition, until now state party presidents were rewarded with the Deputy Chief Minister's post after the Assembly elections. This happened with Chhagan Bhujbal and RR Patil. But an exception was made in Jayant Patil's case.
Veteran journalist and well-known political analyst, Hemant Desai, termed Sharad Pawar’s treatment of Jayant Patil as ‘gross injustice’.