Sharad Pawar washes hands of nephew's move, Raut accuses Ajit of backstabbing

Maharashtra political deadlock continues as Congress-NCP meet put off
NCP chief Sharad Pawar arrives at Parliament during the ongoing Winter Session, in New Delhi, Tuesday. Photo: PTI

Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party Sharad Pawar on Saturday said that the move by the NCP Group Leader in Maharashtra Legislature to form a government with the Bharatiya Janata Party was "his personal decision and not of the NCP".

"We place on record that we do not support or endorse this decision of his," Sharad Pawar said, indicating a vertical split in the NCP, though the complete details are yet to emerge.

BJP state President Chandrakant Patil said that Ajit Pawar has the support of at least 15 MLAs, plus there are others and independents which will give the BJP alliance support of around 160 legislators.

"All the supporting legislators shall have a meeting on Sunday afternoon in Mumbai," he added.

Pawar Senior is likely to address a press conference on Saturday later to give further details and even on his talks with the Sena leaders since the political landscape changed in the morning.

Meanwhile, NCP state President Jayant Patil said Ajit Pawar had expressed even late on Friday that "the discussions were dragging on for too long" though a final breakthrough was expected on Saturday after the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress unanimously approved Sena President Uddhav Thackeray as the next Chief Minister.

Ajit Pawar 'backstabbed' people of Maharashtra: Raut

Sanjay Raut

Shaken after the sudden political changes in the state, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut alleged that the new Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has "back-stabbed" the people of the state and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

"We had an inkling of some such developments since Ajit Pawar never looked us in the eye in our series of meetings... Even Sharad Pawar had harboured some doubts when his nephew (Ajit Pawar) had suddenly quit his Assembly seat just before the October elections," Raut said.

He accused Ajit Pawar of betraying a senior leader like Sharad Pawar who was kept in the dark of all decisions by his nephew.

Raut said that Ajit Pawar had stayed with the leaders of Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party and Congress till very late on Friday and everything appeared to be normal.

However, hours later the fast-paced developments took place, stunning political circles, which the Sena MP termed as the BJP "cheating the people of Maharashtra".

Raut added that Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and NCP President Sharad Pawar will hold a meeting later in the day to discuss the issues in detail.

Meanwhile, most top leaders of all the three parties remained incommunicado as the ramifications of the changed political scenario sank in.

(With inputs from IANS.)

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