BJP creating confusion, haven't taken signature of any MLA: Ajit Pawar

Amid media reports that he has secured consent of 40 MLAs from the NCP, Ajit said people have made too much of his meetings with his partymen and there is "not an iota of truth" in the rumours

NCP leader Ajit Pawar
NCP leader Ajit Pawar

Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra

NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday said the speculations about his splitting the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and joining hands with the BJP were baseless.

Ajit Pawar, the leader of oppposition (LoP) in the Maharashtra assembly told National Herald at his office in the Vidhan Bhavan that there was "not an iota of truth" in the story.  

Amid media reports that he has secured consent of 40 MLAs from the NCP, Ajit said people have made too much of his meetings with his partymen. It is routine that several NCP MLAs meet him at his office at Vidhan Bhavan but that does not mean there is a conspiracy afoot, he said.

Barely ten months after the BJP engineered a split in the Shiv Sena and made Eknath Shinde the chief minister of Maharashtra, there is growing speculation that Ajit Pawar could be the next pawn in BJP's game if the Supreme Court, hearing the Shiv Sena defection matter, gives an adverse verdict.

The central agencies have been probing Ajit's dealings with the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank, which has fuelled the speculation that he might follow Shinde's suit and join the BJP to escape prosecution. However, Ajit told NH, "The central agencies are inquiring with me about the functioning of the MSC bank to which I have been replying legally. This is an ongoing process by the central agencies with Opposition leaders across India. Everyone is facing this kind of continuous questioning and so am I."

That does not give him any cause to quit his party or the Maha Vikas Aghadi, or abandon his uncle Sharad Pawar's leadership,  he added.

Later he asserted publicly  to the media that he was firmly with Sharad Pawar who was  the party supremo and he will continue to follow his leader. "People should make note of the decisions taken by the party. They  should not spread rumours as party workers then get misled. This is intolerable as they are the backbone of our party and should not be misdirected. If I plan to leave NCP, I will let them know about it first.“

Ajit emphasised that party Chief Sharad Pawar too had rejected the notion of his nephew joining the BJP. Sharad Pawar,  the architect of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, had earlier said hat there was no truth in the rumour that Ajit was joining the BJP.  "

"Ajit Pawar has not called any (special) meeting (to receive consent of party MLAs for a split). Ajit is a committed party worker and this party is as much his as it is mine," the NCP Chief said.

Ajit Pawar also told the media that the BJP was intentionally spreading rumours of his quitting the party to defocus from the issues of the farmers. The MVA has been holding a series of Vajramuth rallies across the state that are focussing on various state and national issues and failures of both governments. 

He told NH, "We will continue to hold these rallies and await the Supreme Court verdict (in the case of disqualification of Shinde's MLAs)."

It is fear of that verdict that is said to be provoking BJP to spread such canards, he said.

The rallies too are causing much angst with more speculation about why  some leaders did not speak at one or the other rally. But Ajit said, "It is our mutual decision about who speaks at these rallies and who does not. People should stop worrying about who speaks or does not and pay more heed to what we are saying at these rallies, for it is our decision to give them a variety of dealers and not bore the people with the same faces and voices.  Unnecessary twisting of our comments should not be done by others. The Congress, Sena under leadership of Uddhav Thackeray and NCP are here to stay and contest the upcoming elections together to defeat the BJP. "

Ajit rued the creation of confusion by the BJP "about me and my people". "MLAs come to me in Vidhan Bhavan with issues related to official work. There is not an iota of truth in whatever is being spread. Do I have to give an affidavit to prove that I am still with NCP ? I haven't taken the signatures of any MLAs regarding the rumours of joining hands with the BJP. We are all loyalists of the NCP. No such talks or decision occurred (on BJP alliance). Now, all rumours should be put to rest." 

However,  the rumours had started swirling last week when he suddenly cancelled his scheduled meetings and also made comments which were seen as being soft on the BJP and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's camp.  But Anil Patil, MLA from  NCP, who says he is with Ajit first and his party later, said, "We are not joining BJP under any circumstances. This is classic misiformation by BJP which is also hoping to poach some more MLAs in anticipation of the Supreme Court verdict going against Shinde."

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