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Ajit Pawar denies claims of NCP split if Chhagan Bhujbal made CM in 2004

Updated on: 28 May,2024 12:20 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

Ajit Pawar stated had Chhagan Bhujbal been elected CM in 2004, NCP would have retained position through Congress-NCP alliance govt's tenure in Maharashtra.

Ajit Pawar denies claims of NCP split if Chhagan Bhujbal made CM in 2004

Ajit Pawar/ File Photo

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Ajit Pawar denies claims of NCP split if Chhagan Bhujbal made CM in 2004

On Monday, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar denied statements made by his uncle, NCP SP President Sharad Pawar, that the party would have split if Chhagan Bhujbal had been appointed Chief Minister in 2004.

Speaking at a party meeting to review the India General Elections 2024 strategy and discuss plans for the upcoming state assembly elections in October, Ajit Pawar stated that if Bhujbal had been elected Chief Minister in 2004, the NCP would have retained the position throughout the Congress-NCP alliance government's tenure in Maharashtra, reported IANS. 

According to the IANS report, Ajit Pawar stated that during meetings with Sharad Pawar following the 2004 assembly elections, in which the NCP won 71 seats and the Congress won 69, prominent figures such as Chhagan Bhujbal, Praful Patel, and Sunil Tatkare all agreed the NCP should be the CM. He backed Bhujbal for the position because of his efforts to broaden the party's appeal in Maharashtra.

“If the NCP had taken the post of Chief Minister in 2004, the party would have been in a position to keep the Chief Minister’s post as long as the Congress and NCP alliance remained in power. Chhagan Bhujbal, R. R. Patil and other leaders could also have become Chief Minister,” he said.

Ajit Pawar stated that many in the party believed Bhujbal deserved to be Chief Minister and lamented previous decisions that had resulted in internal strife.

“All the senior leaders like Chhagan Bhujbal, Praful Patel, and Sunil Tatkare were of the opinion that NCP should get the CM’s post. I also thought that Chhagan Bhujbal should become the Chief Minister because he had worked hard to take the party to every nook and corner of Maharashtra,” Ajit Pawar said.

“After making Sudhakarrao Naik the Chief Minister, he stopped listening to Sharad Pawar within only one year. He also removed 17 people from the cabinet. All this mess started from there," he added. 

Meanwhile, the current Food and Civil Supply Minister, Chhagan Bhujbal, emphasised the need to quickly conclude the seat-sharing arrangement with the BJP and Shiv Sena for the next state assembly elections, underlining that the NCP must receive a fair share of seats, the report added. 

“Like the Lok Sabha, there should not be a fight in the grand alliance on the seat allocation for the Assembly elections. There should also be no delay in the seat-sharing arrangement. NCP must get its due share of seats,” Chhagan Bhujbal said.

According to NCP Working President Praful Patel, the seat-sharing arrangement for the Assembly elections will differ from that for the Lok Sabha elections, with the NCP projected to receive more seats.

“There will definitely be an increase in the number of seats for NCP in the Assembly elections. All of us will be involved in the seat allocation discussions,” Praful Patel said.

Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis responded by claiming that leaders from all three parties would work together to devise a suitable seat-sharing mechanism, with the BJP obtaining the most seats due to its size.

In other events, NCP SP leader Dheeraj Sharma, who previously led the party's youth wing, joined the Ajit Pawar group on Monday.

With IANS inputs

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