While Sharad Pawar was still addressing a press conference at Thane on Saturday and condemning his nephew’s recent remarks, Ajit, the man at the centre of controversy, was preparing to leave for Karad, a small town in Satara district. Before leaving, he spoke with some of his trusted colleagues in Karad, and issued a few instructions to them for Sunday, without disclosing to any of them that he was reaching the town later the same evening, to make amends for his recent ‘blunder.’ According to his close supporters from Pune, he left the city in the evening in a private car, directing his security personnel to stay back. But a few of them insisted on accompanying him.
After reaching Karad on Saturday, he is believed to have stayed overnight at a bungalow in the heart of the town, located on the lane that houses late leader Y B Chavan’s ancestral home. In the wee hours, Pawar went to the state PWD resthouse and soon after, reached Chavan’s samadhi at the confluence of the Krishna and Koyna rivers, known as Preetisangam.
Before starting his one-day fast, he called over one of his supporters and issued a statement for the media, ‘to make his side clear and avoid controversy’. He told the journalist that the fast was not a publicity stunt. ‘Those who perform, make mistakes. I really mean it and all politicians should speak with responsibility,’ Pawar said. Asking the scribe to circulate the byte to other media channels, he stopped entertaining media persons after that.
Ajit Pawar’s gesture is being viewed as an attempt to propitiate Opposition parties who stalled legislative proceedings last week as a mark of protest to the deputy CM’s remarks on water shortage in the state. The house is expected to resume business today after four-day-long recess. Pawar Junior’s decision is believed to have surprised his uncle.Meanwhile, Opposition parties waved off Ajit Pawar’s ‘penance’ trip as a stunt. Leader of Opposition Vinod Tawde, Shiv Sena MLC Diwakar Raote, MP Bharatkumar Raut, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, RPI leader Ramdas Athawale criticised the move. Speaking about the gesture, CM Prithviraj Chavan said that all are free to fast. “It’s a time of introspection for every politician,” he is believed to have said.