After asserting that there is no conflict between them and his nephew Ajit Pawar and he remains their leader, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) patron Sharad Pawar later retracted his words and said that he had not actually expressed such views; it was Supriya Sule who said this.
Reacting to Supriya Sule’s statement, “Ajit Pawar is our leader,” NCP chief Sharad Pawar said, “I am not saying that Ajit Pawar is our leader. Supriya Sule had said that. They are like siblings, and there is no need to look for a political meaning behind this. I did not say that Ajit Pawar is our leader. This is your (the media’s) fault. That was said by Supriya, and it also appeared in newspapers. Given the kind of stand he has taken, he is not our leader.”
Earlier, Sharad Pawar denied a split in the party and said that a split happens when a major chunk of the party steps out at the national level. “There is no conflict that he (Ajit Pawar) is our leader, there is no split in the NCP. How does a split happen in a party? It happens when a large group separates from the party at the national level. But there is no such situation in the NCP today. Yes, some leaders took a different stance, but this can’t be called a split. They can do so in a democracy,” said Sharad Pawar in Baramati.
Earlier, speaking during an event in Pune on August 20, the NCP supremo said that some of the party leaders who had switched sides and went with the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP to join the Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde)-BJP government were being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Recently, some of our people joined the government, saying that they joined hands with the BJP on the issue of development… some of them were under ED investigation… some of them did not want to face investigation,” Sharad Pawar said.
Supriya Sule, daughter of Sharad Pawar, stood firm on her stand that “there’s no split in the NCP”. “I repeat again that there is no split in the NCP. Since the foundation of the party, our national president has been Sharad Pawar, and our current state president is Jayant Patil. Our nine MLAs and two MPs have taken a different route, for which we have already given a notice to Lok Sabha Speaker and Vidhan Sabha Speaker for the disqualification, and a reply is awaited,” she said.
Earlier on July 2, Ajit Pawar, nephew of Sharad Pawar, along with eight Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs, switched over support to the BJP-Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde)-led Maharashtra government. Ajit Pawar later claimed to have received support from several MLAs of the NCP. Pawar was then sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister of the state. Maharashtra’s other Deputy Chief Minister is the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis.