Mumbai: NCP chief Sharad Pawar made it clear, yet again, that he won’t go with the BJP after MLAs from his nephew Ajit Pawar’s faction met him the second time on Monday. At least 15 MLAs met him at the YB Chavan Centre, expressing their wish for the NCP to remain united. They held a 90-minute discussion with their party supremo but he refused to budge.
NCP leader Praful Patel justified the second meeting, saying that some of the MLAs had not been able to meet Sharad Pawar earlier. He also clarified that he and Ajit Pawar would attend the BJP-led NDA meeting in Delhi on Tuesday (July 18). Patel said, “He just heard us and didn’t react.”
Later in the evening, NCP state unit president Jayant Patil made Sharad Pawar’s stand clear at a press conference and said that the question of going with the BJP doesn’t arise. Patil said, “Anyone coming to the Y B Chavan Centre can meet Sharad Pawar, but that doesn’t mean there is change in the party’s stand.”
Uddhav Sena, Congress flay Ajit Pawar
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena (UBT) and Congress party criticised the Ajit Pawar faction over the meetings. “This is their attempt to garner support,” Sena (UBT) leader Ambadas Danve said, while Congress leader Yashomati Thakur said that “a group within the NCP joining the government has not gone down well with anyone and the repeated attempts to contact the party chief appear to be a measure to reassure supporters”.
Earlier in the day, only eight NCP members were seen on the opposition benches and at least 15 were on the treasury benches on the first day of the monsoon session of the state legislature. The NCP members also stayed away from the demonstrations by opposition legislators on the steps of Vidhan Bhavan before the beginning of the session.
Patil, however, clarified and said that the seating in the house is temporary and would change once the situation becomes clearer.