After several meetings with colleagues in the NCP, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, some party workers and family members, Ajit Pawar decided on Tuesday to step down as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, a post he had not taken charge of.
Earlier, the NCP ‘rebel’ held a secret meeting with senior leaders of his party Chhagan Bhujbal, Praful Patel, Dilip Walse Patil and Sunil Tatkare. Members of Ajit Pawar’s family were part of the meeting.
In the meeting, sources say, Ajit spoke to Sharad Pawar and Supriya Sule over the phone. Patel said that Ajit Pawar heard them out attentively and “looked very positive”. However, Sirf News has learnt from reliable sources that the NCP leaders failed to convince Ajit Pawar to submit meekly.
Interestingly, Ajit Pawar, despite being sworn in last Saturday, has not yet taken the charge of deputy chief minister, which is giving the rest of NCP the idea that he is in two minds.
After the Supreme Court’s order to conduct the floor test at 5 PM on 27 November, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar met with the NCP leaders and then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Hearing the petitions of opposition parties, a bench comprising Justice NV Ramana, Justice Sanjeev Khanna and Justice Ashok Bhushan said that since the legislators had not sworn in, a majority test should be held on 27 November. The bench said that the swearing-in of MLAs and the majority test should be held before 5 PM on Wednesday evening.
The court said in its order that a pro-tem speaker will be appointed for the floor-test and the voting will not be conducted via secret ballot. The proceedings of the House are to be broadcast live.
Sources said Ajit Pawar is constantly discussing his options with his family members.
After the meeting, Ajit Pawar left for the Trident Hotel where he met some workers of the NCP. From there, he left for his bungalow Varsha and then to his brother Srinivas Pawar’s apartment.
While he turned down journalists’ queries today, sources say that the chances of his resignation from the party are high. NCP leaders under the aegis of Sharad Pawar have demanded Ajit Pawar’s resignation while the patriarch of the party has given him two options. Either Ajit Pawar conducts himself like a disciplined NCP worker tomorrow inside the Maharashtra Assembly or, in the case where he tries to put to test his writ in the party and issues a whip, Pawar Sr has a “Plan B” ready.
Meanwhile, the man who was until two days ago the second in command in the NCP posted a cryptic tweet. “Our Constitution has helped us shape the democratic India of today & will help us define our tomorrow!” Ajit Pawar wrote on Twitter.
But the tweet above preceded his resignation. Does he have a trick up his sleeve for the floor test tomorrow. Wait and watch this space.