Ajit Pawar quits as MLA. He’s left pol­i­tics, says his un­cle

RAJ COURT EX­EMPTS SAL­MAN FROM PER­SONAL AP­PEAR­ANCE FOR A DAY IN POACH­ING CASE It’s Be­cause Of ED Cases: Pawar Se­nior AC­TOR-NETA VIJAYASHAN­TI TO RE­JOIN BJP AFTER A DECADE IN CONG, STAR IN MAHA CAM­PAIGN

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Pra­fulla.Marpak­war @times­group.com THE TIMES OF IN­DIA, NEW DELHI | SATUR­DAY, SEPTEM­BER 28, 2019

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.

File photo

NCP leader Ajit Pawar with party pres­i­dent Sharad Pawar

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