Ajit Pawar quits as MLA. He’s left politics, says his uncle
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Mumbai: NCP chief Sharad Pawar capped a day of political drama by announcing that his nephew and fivetime Baramati MLA Ajit Pawar had resigned from the state assembly and quit politics, marking a symbolic protest — given that polls are round the corner — against recent actions by investigating agencies.
While the former deputy CM himself remained incommunicado, Sharad Pawar claimed his nephew had decided to return to farming and other businesses. Ajit, seen as part of the core leadership of NCP, was apparently disturbed after his name figured among the accused in the Rs 25,000-crore Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam case, Pawar added. Ajit and his uncle have also been named in a money laundering probe by the ED, an action questioned by the opposition for its timing.
“Ajit hasn’t spoken to me, either before or after his resignation. When I spoke to his son Parth, he said his father discussed his decision to quit over the way his and my names figured in the scam,” said Pawar. However, Ajit’s son Parth disputed Pawar’s claim saying his father had no intention of quitting politics though he had warned him against entering it. On a day when he allowed himself to be persuaded by Mumbai’s police chief against paying a symbolic visit to the ED office, Pawar also sought to present a united front within NCP.
However, a senior NCP leader said Ajit was, in any case, unhappy over the way the party was being run. “Ajit came to Mumbai on Friday morning, submitted his resignation to the assembly speaker in the evening and left for his hometown Baramati,” he said, pointing out that he was conspicuously absent from the core group surrounding Pawar on a day he was supposed to go to the ED office.
Assembly speaker Haribhau Bagde confirmed that Ajit had visited his office to submit his resignation. “Ajit Pawar spoke to me on phone and requested me to accept the resignation immediately. Since the letter was in the prescribed format, it was accepted as per his request,” he said.
Meanwhile, BJP strategist Girish Mahajan attributed Ajit’s resignation to a power struggle within the family. “I have not spoken to Ajit, but I believe he was disturbed over the way he was sidelined, and over disputes within the family and differences with Sharad Pawar,” he told TOI.
He claimed that Ajit was riled also because while Pawar was projected as a clean leader, no efforts were being made to protect him. “The entire day on Friday, no NCP leader spoke about Ajit, while all along all-out efforts were made to defend Pawar,” he said.
NCP leader Ajit Pawar with party president Sharad Pawar