News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay

This article was first published 1 year ago  » News » Why Is Fadnavis Targeting Sharad Pawar?

Why Is Fadnavis Targeting Sharad Pawar?

By Aditi Phadnis
February 27, 2023 08:56 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

Friendship with Ajit Pawar and the eventual destruction of the NCP can only strengthen him and the BJP.

IMAGE: Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, left with Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) chief Uddhav Thackeray. Photograph: ANI Photo

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar had backed his plan in 2019 to form the government with his nephew Ajit Pawar, and that this statement was '100 per cent true' and he was not lying.

'Whatever I had said was 100 per cent true, and there was no lie in it. I won't speak today on various interpretations that are being derived. I want to speak more on this, and I will speak at an appropriate time and that time is yet to come,' Mr Fadnavis told reporters in Pune.

To this Sharad Pawar said: 'I felt that Devendra was a cultured person and a gentleman. I never felt that he would take recourse to falsehood and make such a statement.'


Another interesting chapter was thus opened in the story of exactly what went down on November 23, 2019.

Bhagat Singh Koshyari, then governor, swore in Mr Fadnavis as chief minister and Ajit Pawar as deputy CM in an early morning ceremony.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had won 105 seats in the October elections.

The Shiv Sena, which was in alliance with the BJP, had won 56 seats.

Despite having enough seats to form the government together, the two allies bickered over power-sharing -- who will get the CM's post being the bone of contention.

Ajit Pawar took a large number of MLAs over to the BJP to get up the required strength.

The question is whether Sharad Pawar knew his nephew was going to cross the floor and gave his blessings to the move.

Pawar senior says he had no idea about his nephew's moves.

Mr Fadnavis says he knew all along. Someone is being economical with the truth.

In any case, the Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar gambit did not work.

The government lasted just three days, after which Uddhav Thackeray was sworn in as CM.

Ajit Pawar has been deputy CM of Maharashtra, but has a chip on his shoulder.

Before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he insisted on a ticket for his son Parth for the Maval Lok Sabha seat, though Sharad Pawar publicly counselled against the move. Parth lost the election.

In 2012, then chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had announced the government would release a White Paper on the status of irrigation projects in Maharashtra.

The minister on whom the White Paper would have sat in judgement was Ajit Pawar.

The announcement -- maybe -- took Sharad Pawar by surprise as well.

A recent book by Priyam Gandhi-Mody reinforces Mr Fadnavis's assertion: That Ajit Pawar had the full support of his uncle in jumping ship.

The book records a call Mr Fadnavis made to Sharad Pawar to seal Ajit Pawar's defection where talks appeared to be at such an advanced stage that the NCP and BJP discussed not just portfolios but even guardian ministers once they'd helped each other to form the government.

It also describes a conversation between Sharad Pawar and Prime Minister N D Modi that suggests talks were at an advanced stage -- before Pawar senior changed his mind, settling for other friends.

Sharad Pawar's supporters say he assured Ajit he would secure the position of deputy CM for him under an Uddhav Thackeray-led government. And he did.

But Ajit thought he could outdo his uncle in the deal-making department and, after the assembly elections, went to the BJP with an offer.

He returned to the family bosom when he couldn't muster enough numbers.

Pawar senior, an old war horse, knew the reality. Ajit was a man in a hurry.

IMAGE: Then Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari flanked by then newly appointed chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and then deputy CM Ajit Pawar during an oath-taking ceremony in Mumbai. Photograph: PTI Photo

Mr Fadnavis has been withering in his assessment of Sharad Pawar for long.

At a media conclave some years ago, he said in reply to a question: 'He likes to play chess and I don't much like the game. Sharad Pawar is incessantly obsessed with the politics of power and subterfuge, but I am interested only in development.'

This will hold very little water. History cannot deny Sharad Pawar's contribution to Maharashtra's development.

By questioning his credibility and destroying his reputation, possibly Mr Fadnavis wants to destroy an icon of Maharashtra.

On the other hand, how can you fault Mr Fadnavis for this? He is a young man, looking to the future with hope.

Friendship with Ajit Pawar and the eventual destruction of the NCP can only strengthen him and the BJP.

The Uddhav Thackeray story is already over. How could a Sharad Pawar takedown hurt?

The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation elections, due in a few weeks, might hold some clues to explain Mr Fadnavis's recent statements.


The NCP is only a bit player in this election. But Mr Fadnavis is taking no chances.

It will be interesting to see how Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena and the Shinde-led Shiv Sena perform when they go head to head in the BMC poll.

And whether Sharad Pawar can influence the outcome.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Aditi Phadnis
Source: source
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024