Maha Twist: Five things you ought to know about BJP's new bestie and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar

For years Ajit 'dada', as he is popularly known, has remained in the shadows of his larger than life uncle Sharad Pawar. But on in a major twist in the tale, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) turned its tables on rivals with a faction of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) breaking away under Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar and forming government under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis in the wee hours of Saturday morning. NCP leader Ajit Pawar was sworn-in as the deputy chief minister at Raj Bhavan.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar seems to be equally miffed with his nephew Ajit's decision to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). "I came to know at 7 am today about Ajit Pawar. I did not know before that. I will hold a press conference in some time. Uddhav too will address the media. I will speak elaborately then," the NCP chief said, clarifying that it was not his decision.

Here are five facts you need to know about Ajit 'Dada' Pawar:

  • The 60-year old politician has an experience of three-decade in politics. He has served as the deputy chief minister of the state and also the minister of state for key portfolios like water resources, rural soil conservation development, power and planning.

  • Ajit Pawar was pursuing his primary education at Deolali Pravara, his Uncle, Sharad Pawar had become a rising political figure in the ruling Congress party. Therefore, Ajit moved to Mumbai for his further education. Pawar made his foray into politics in 1982 when he was elected to the board of a cooperative sugar factory.

  • He was elected chairman of the Pune District Co-operative Bank (PDC) in 1991 and remained in the post for 16 years. During this period he was also elected as Member of parliament, Lok Sabha from the Baramati. He later vacated his Lok Sabha seat in favour of his uncle, Sharad Pawar, who had then become defence minister in PV Narasimha Rao's government.

  • Thereafter, he was elected as a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Baramati. Pawar was re-elected from the same constituency in 1995, 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2014.

  • He went on to become minister of state for Agriculture and Power (June 1991 - November 1992) in Sudhakarrao Naik's government. Later he became minister of state for Soil Conservation, Power and Planning (November 1992 - February 1993) when Sharad Pawar returned to the state as chief minister. When the Indian National Congress-NCP coalition came into power in 1999, Pawar was promoted to cabinet minister, firstly in the Irrigation Department (October 1999 - December 2003) in Vilasrao Deshmukh's government. He was given additional charge of the Rural Development Department (December 2003 - October 2004) in Sushilkumar Shinde's government. When Congress-NCP combination returned to power in 2004 he retained the Water Resources Ministry in Deshmukh's government and later in Ashok Chavan's government. He also became the Guardian minister for Pune district in 2004 and held the post until the Congress - NCP coalition lost power in 2014.

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