Thursday, 27 September 2012

Adamant Ajit brings NCP rift to the fore

Adamant Ajit brings NCP rift to the fore
Clean Media Correspondent

Mumbai, Sept 27 (CMC) On Wednesday, NCP legislators passed a resolution that he should withdraw his resignation. The day’s developments brought to the fore the ongoing tussle between him and his uncle Sharad Pawar as well as the simmering tension between the NCP and the Congress.

While his loyalists pledged their support and insisted he should stick to his decision, senior party members requested him to rethink. At the meeting, both groups shouted slogans in favour of their bosses.

Contradictory statements of NCP leaders throughout the day only compounded the chaos within the party. Leaders like Praful Patel, a known Sharad Pawar loyalist, stressed there was no threat to the Congress-NCP coalition in the state. He even said chief minister Prithviraj Chavan should accept Pawar’s resignation. He also made it clear that the party would not appoint a new deputy chief minister.

But PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal said in Mumbai, “We request Ajit not to insist on his resignation. He is the state NCP’s legislature leader and he has done no wrong.”

Both the Pawars, however, maintained throughout the day there was no rift in the party or between them. “We continue to support the government in Maharashtra and Delhi... We do not want de-stability. My word regarding the resignations of others will be final,” Sharad Pawar said in Kolkata.

He had said yesterday his nephew had sought his permission before resigning and that he would come out clean in the investigations.

Ajit Pawar has been accused of clearing irrigation projects worth Rs20,000 crore — when he was the water resources minister between 1999 and 2009 — without a clearance from the governing council of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation. 
The junior Pawar said on Wednesday: “If there is a systematic campaign to undermine my work, it is better that I quit.”
He, however, said that it would be incorrect to attribute the developments to a power tussle between him and his uncle. “We all work together in the party and there are no differences among ministers or MLAs,” he said.
But on Tuesday, all other 19 NCP ministers in the Prithviraj Chavan government had offered to quit. They had even given their resignations to state unit chief Madhukar Pichad. The party top brass, however, told them on Wednesday that they should not resign.

Though Ajit Pawar remained tightlipped about his next course of action, sources say he will tour the state to refurbish his political image that has taken a beating in the wake of the irrigation scam. 
Pawar has already identified 100 of the 288 assembly seats, which the NCP can win, one of his loyalists said. “He has been working at the grass roots level for the past five years. He wants to make the NCP a number one party in the state,” he said. 

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