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Ajit Pawar skips NCP meet, does not figure in party's star campaigners list

Pawar said he was unable to attend the convention as it clashed with some other programs he had to attend, and nothing more should be read into it

Ajit Pawar

Ajit Pawar | Photo: @AjitPawarSpeaks

Press Trust of India Mumbai

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Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar on Friday skipped a convention of his party's Mumbai unit, raising eyebrows in political circles as speculation about his next political move refuses to die down.
His name was also missing from the party's list of star campaigners for the Karnataka Assembly elections.
Speaking to reporters in Pune, Pawar said he was unable to attend the convention as it clashed with some other programs he had to attend, and nothing more should be read into it.
The daylong meeting in Mumbai was addressed by party chief Sharad Pawar and senior leaders like Praful Patel, Jitendra Awhad, Supriya Sule, Chhagan Bhujbal and state NCP president Jayant Patil.
Talking about Ajit Pawar's absence from the meeting, NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto said the event was planned a month ago.
Ajit Pawar had accepted invitations to several programmes in Pune. He expressed his inability to attend. All leaders have their schedules to follow. Just because they are unable to attend one function, it does not mean they are planning to quit. He was present along with (Sharad) Pawar for an Iftar party earlier this week in Mumbai, Crasto said.
The NCP on Friday released its list of nine candidates for Karnataka polls as well as its list of star campaigners.
The 15-member list of star campaigners included Sharad Pawar and his daughter and MP Supriya Sule, but not his nephew, Ajit Pawar.
Meanwhile, in Pune, asked in a public interview to the Sakal Media Group whether his party will stake a claim for the chief minister's post next year when Assembly polls are due in Maharashtra, Ajit Pawar said, "Why 2024, we are ready to stake a claim for the CM's position even now."

He, however, did not elaborate on the statement.
During a rapid fire round, the MLA from Baramati in Pune district, who has served as deputy chief minister multiple times, was asked whether he would like to become chief minister.
"Yes, I would 100 per cent like to be (CM)," Pawar promptly replied.
Rumours about Ajit Pawar's next political move 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.
The Shinde-led Shiv Sena has said that it would not be a part of the government in Maharashtra if Ajit Pawar joined the BJP with a group of NCP MLAs.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut fuelled the speculation further when he wrote in his weekly column in party mouthpiece 'Saamana' last Sunday that Sharad Pawar recently told Uddhav Thackeray that there was a lot of pressure on some individuals to break ranks. Families are being targeted but even if individual members take a different stand, NCP as a party will never go with the BJP, he wrote, quoting the senior Pawar.
Ajit Pawar later clarified that he would always remain with the NCP.
Sharad Pawar on Tuesday too dismissed the speculation about his nephew's exit.
Notably, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Friday said the leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (alliance of the Shiv Sena (UBT)-NCP-Congress) were defaming Ajit Pawar and questioning his credibility.
They are questioning Ajit Pawar's credibility. From the early morning swearing-in (when Ajit Pawar broke ranks and joined hands with Devendra Fadnavis in 2019) till now, question marks are being raised on his life, stand and work, Bawankule told reporters.
Bawankule also junked media reports that 13 NCP MLAs were in touch with the BJP.
On November 23, 2019, Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were sworn in as chief minister and deputy CM, respectively, but the government fell without proving its majority five days later.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Apr 21 2023 | 11:49 PM IST

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