Over a month after Ajit Pawar split the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and joined the BJP camp, NCP party patron Sharad Pawar continues to maintain, in an attempt to say that there is no conflict between them and his nephew Ajit Pawar and he remains to be their leader. Sharad Pawar also 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 on Friday.
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. Lauding former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, the NCP chief said, “Some like Anil Deshmukh accepted going to jail and spent 14 months there. He was also offered to join their side (BJP) to avoid investigation, but he said that he did not commit any crime and chose not to leave his ideology.”
Sharad Pawar also alleged that some of the NCP leaders joined hands with the BJP since they were threatened by the “agencies”. “Some of our associates joined the BJP under the pressure of investigations by agencies. They were told if you join us (the BJP), then nothing will happen in your cases, but if you don’t join, then you will be shown a different place (jail),” said Pawar.