Amidst a power struggle within the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) involving Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar, the repercussions have now reached Pune city. Recently, NCP city chief Prashant Jagtap pledged support to Team Sharad Pawar, prompting the Ajit Pawar faction to appoint a new city chief on Thursday. The newly appointed city unit chief, Deepak Mankar, has asked Jagtap to hand over the keys to the NCP office.
Mankar stated that while Jagtap claims the office is in his name, it should rightfully be in the party's name. He added that setting up a new office in the city is not a significant issue and mentioned plans to establish it near Congress House soon. Mankar also expressed confidence that Jagtap would join Team Ajit Pawar in the coming days, as 80% of the party workers are already aligned with Ajit Pawar. When asked about the number of former corporators supporting their group, Mankar mentioned that he would provide the complete count within the next 15 days.
Mankar later clarified that he would not be requesting Jagtap to hand over the keys, as the office rightfully belongs to their faction. He expressed his intention to avoid unnecessary controversies and instead dedicate his time to the party's improvement. Mankar disclosed that the Pune team would be announced within the next 15 days. Given that Pune district is a stronghold for the NCP's Ajit faction, the faction is concentrating their efforts here in light of the forthcoming civic polls. The party is determined to reclaim the ground it lost to the BJP in the Pune Municipal Corporation during the 2017 elections.
Mankar promises betterment for City
Furthermore, Mankar emphasized that under the guidance of Ajit Pawar, they will work towards the betterment of the city. He also announced that Ajit Pawar would be visiting the city on Saturday.
Mankar's is the first appointment made by the rebel faction after NCP leader Ajit Pawar revolted against party president Sharad Pawar and joined the Eknath Shinde-BJP government.
In terms of appointments, two women leaders from the city have been included. Rupali Chakankar has been appointed as the Women's Wing President, while Rupali Thombre has been named as one of the party spokespersons.
In a show of support for Ajit Pawar, his supporters of Ajit Pawar conducted a grand Aarti (devotional ritual) at the Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple in Pune, seeking blessings for Ajit Pawar's journey ahead. The newly appointed spokesperson, Thombre, along with Ajit Pawar supporter Pradeep Deshmukh and numerous party workers, actively participated in the Aarti, coinciding with the occasion of Chaturthi.
The NCP is currently facing a political crisis following Ajit Pawar's decision to join the Shinde-BJP government. Eight other NCP MLAs also took oath as ministers with him on Sunday.