Major Blow For Ajit Pawar: Pimpri-Chinchwad NCP Chief Ajit Gavhane To Join Sharad Pawar Camp If... (EXCLUSIVE)

Major Blow For Ajit Pawar: Pimpri-Chinchwad NCP Chief Ajit Gavhane To Join Sharad Pawar Camp If... (EXCLUSIVE)

Speaking exclusively with The Free Press Journal, Ajit Gavhane said he would join Sharad Pawar's party if he does not get a ticket from Ajit Pawar. However, he denied meeting the senior Pawar and expressing his intention to contest from Bhosari Assembly constituency

Gaurav KadamUpdated: Monday, July 01, 2024, 12:01 PM IST
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Major Blow For Ajit Pawar: Pimpri-Chinchwad NCP Chief Ajit Gavhane To Join Sharad Pawar Camp If... (EXCLUSIVE) | File Photos

Ajit Gavhane, the Pimpri-Chinchwad unit chief of the Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), along with 15 former corporators, reportedly met Sharad Pawar at his residence in Pune on Saturday. Speculation quickly arose about Gavhane joining the NCP founder's faction. Gavhane has openly expressed his desire to contest the Assembly election from the Bhosari constituency. However, given that Ajit Pawar's group is currently in an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, the Bhosari seat is unlikely to go to the NCP, as BJP's Mahesh Landge is the current MLA.

Speaking exclusively with The Free Press Journal, Gavhane said he would join Sharad Pawar's party if he does not get a ticket from Ajit Pawar. However, he denied meeting the senior Pawar and expressing his intention to contest from Bhosari Assembly constituency. "I did not meet Sharad Pawar. I would not like to comment on anything at the moment. However, I am very clear on contesting the election," he said. When asked if he would contest as an Independent or join Sharad Pawar's party if the ticket is denied from Ajit Pawar's side, Gavhane stated, "There is no question about contesting as an Independent. If I don't get a ticket, I will align with Sharad Pawar's party."

Leaders leaving Ajit Pawar's faction and joining the senior Pawar isn't a novelty. Nilesh Lanke switched sides and contested as an NCP (SP) candidate in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls from Ahmednagar constituency. The former Parner MLA defeated BJP's incumbent MP Sujay Vikhe by a sizeable margin in a keenly watched contest.

Also, Ajit Pawar's chips are down in the state as his party bagged only one seat in the Lok Sabha polls. His party also did not get any representation in Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet. They had demanded a senior ministry but were offered a junior one which they rejected. Besides, the Pune Porsche crash case, in which NCP MLA Sunil Tingre's name came up, has put the Deputy Chief Minister on the back foot. The growing crime rate in Pune, drugs being consumed at bars and pubs, and his lackadaisical response even though he is the guardian minister, has put his supporters in jeopardy. Additionally, several BJP office-bearers have blamed Ajit Pawar's inclusion in the Mahayuti as the reason for the ruling alliance's poor show in the Lok Sabha polls. Many saffron party workers have even called for removing his party from the alliance.

It will be interesting to watch if more leaders leave Ajit Pawar's side before the Assembly polls or if he is able to keep his pack together.

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