Ajit Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra has moved a petition with the Election Commission of India (ECI) staking claim to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the party symbol. The commission has also received a caveat from the other NCP faction's President Jayant Patil that they have initiated disqualification process against nine MLAs.
The move comes days after a dramatic decision by Ajit Pawar alongside over 40 MLAs, announcing their alliance with the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition government in Maharashtra. "I want to become Maharashtra chief minister to implement certain plans I have for people's welfare," he said after inaugurating his NCP faction’s new office in south Mumbai.
Reiterating that he has "deep respect" for Sharad Pawar, Ajit said, "I still have deep respect for him (Sharad Pawar)...But you tell me, IAS officers retire at 60...even in politics - BJP leaders retire at 75. You can see the example of LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi...That allows the new generation to rise...You (Sharad Pawar) give us your blessings."
Retirement Jibe at Sharad Pawar
Hinting that Sharad Pawar should retire, Ajit said, "The other day, he went to YB Chavan memorial...I have also been there...but you are 83, aren't you going to stop?... Everybody has his innings. The most productive years are from 25 to 75 years. In BJP, leaders retire at 75."
He also blamed Sharad Pawar for NCP losing out on the chance to have a chief minister in 2004. “We had more MLAs than Congress in 2004, but our senior leader allowed Congress to bag the CM's post,” he said. “For us, Saheb (Sharad Pawar) is a deity and we have deep respect for him,” he said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said that NCP leader Ajit Pawar has joined his government to support the state's development and express his faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Wednesday, Praising Modi, Ajit Pawar said that there is no other leader like him. “The country is marching ahead under his (Modi’s) leadership. We have joined the government to support him,” Ajit Pawar said.
Pawar further indicated that the allocation of portfolios in the state ministry may not be announced immediately. He attributed the delay to CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis leaving for Nagpur to welcome President Murmu who is reaching there later in the evening.
NCP leaders of Ajit Pawar faction have been moved to a hotel after their meeting at MET Bandra in Mumbai.