The dismal performance of the Nationalist Congress Party in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections has sparked a barrage of speculative TV media reports that over a dozen MLAs from the Ajit Pawar camp are in touch with party founder Sharad Pawar and may return to NCP(SP). However, NCP president Sunil Tatkare dismissed these reports as baseless rumours. He asserted that all MLAs are united with Ajit Pawar and such misinformation was also spread during the elections.

Ajit Pawar’s wife Sunetra Pawar lost to NCP (SP) MP Supriya Sule, the daughter of Sharad Pawar, in the Baramati Lok Sabha seat by more than 1.5 lakh votes. (HT PHOTO)

“Rumours are being spread deliberately that our MLAs are in touch with Sharad Pawar faction of the NCP…All our MLAs are with us and we are one team. Such rumours and fake videos were being circulated even during elections,” Tatkare told reporters after the party’s core group meeting.

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Tatkare’s statements came after a core group meeting to review the NCP’s disappointing performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections, where Ajit Pawar’s faction secured only one seat out of the four it contested. NCP working president Praful Patel, other senior party leaders and ministers, including Hasan Mushrif, Chhagan Bhujbal, Dilip Walse Patil and Dhananjay Munde, attended the meeting at the deputy CM’s official residence ‘Deogiri’ in south Mumbai.

Another meeting of NCP MLAs will held in the evening to discuss the assembly election due later this year, the party chief added.

“We will fight the assembly polls aggressively. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, both the deputy chief ministers (Ajit Pawar and Devendra Fadnavis) will take a decision on unitedly fighting the assembly elections,” he said.

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Tatkare, the only NCP leader to win his Lok Sabha seat, also said he will participate in the meeting of the BJP-led alliance scheduled for June 7 in Delhi.

NDA won 17 out of 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, while the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition, which includes Sharad Pawar’s NCP (SP), secured 30 seats.

Ajit Pawar’s party contested four Lok Sabha seats in the state and bagged only one – Raigad.

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Ajit Pawar’s wife, Sunetra Pawar, lost the Baramati Lok Sabha seat to Supriya Sule, Sharad Pawar’s daughter, by a significant margin.

In July last year, Ajit Pawar joined the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena in the state along with some other MLAs, leading to a split in the NCP founded by his uncle Sharad Pawar.

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