Maharashtra Politics: Sharad Pawar, the patriarch of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP-SP), has clarified his stance on nephew Ajit Pawar’s return to the party. On Tuesday, he said those who wanted to ‘weaken’ the NCP would not be taken in.

“Those who wanted to weaken the party would not be taken in. But those leaders who would help strengthen the organisation and not hurt the image of the party would be taken in,” Sharad Pawar said in Mumbai.

“However, that too will happen after having a word with the party (NCP-SP) leaders and workers,” he added.

The remarks came amid speculation that nephew Ajit Pawar, who broke off from the NCP and joined the Mahayuti alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, is planning to rejoin forces with uncle Sharad Pawar.

Ajit Pawar’s faction within the NCP has sparked speculation following a lacklustre performance in the Maharashtra Lok Sabha elections. The disappointing results have prompted discussions among some MLAs from Ajit Pawar’s camp about potentially rejoining the NCP-SP ahead of the state assembly polls. This development highlights growing uncertainties and shifts within Maharashtra’s political landscape as parties prepare for upcoming electoral challenges.

Veteran NCP leader Sharad Pawar stressed that those MLAs who would not “hurt” the party’s image would be taken back, but only after speaking with the party leaders and workers.

Meanwhile, the Ajit Pawar-led NCP leaders were reportedly upset over being offered the Minister of State (MoS) post in the Modi 3.0 cabinet.

NCP leader Praful Patel was offered an MoS role but declined, stating that accepting it would be viewed as a downgrade from his previous position as a Union minister with Cabinet rank. Patel’s decision underscores his reluctance to accept a perceived demotion within the Union government’s hierarchy.

Earlier, Ajit Pawar said that his party would wait for the BJP to change its offer to its ally.

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Published: 25 Jun 2024, 05:12 PM IST