51 NCP MLAs wanted Sharad Pawar to explore possibility of joining Maha govt in 2022: Praful Patel

11:09 AM Jul 04, 2023 | PTI |

Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel has claimed 51 out of the 53 party MLAs had told NCP chief Sharad Pawar that a possibility of joining hands with the BJP should be explored after the MVA government in Maharashtra collapsed last year.


If the NCP can form government with the Shiv Sena, why not with the BJP, Patel, who has switched over to Ajit Pawar’s side, said in an interview to Marathi news channel Zee 24 Taas.

On Sunday, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar led a vertical split in the party to become deputy chief minister in the one-year-old Shiv Sena-BJP government, shocking his uncle Sharad Pawar, who founded the outfit 24 years ago after quitting the Congress.

Besides Ajit Pawar, eight other NCP MLAs, including Chhagan Bhujbal and Hasan Mushrif, were sworn in as ministers in the Eknath Shinde cabinet. The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, comprising the Shiv Sena (then undivided), NCP and Congress, collapsed in June last year after a revolt led by Shinde.

Later, Shinde became the chief minister with BJP’s support.


Patel said last year, internal discussions took place over joining the BJP alliance. There was a discussion among the MLAs, he said.

”There were discussions on this issue, but no decision was arrived at. Now a shape has been given. The decision has been taken as a party, not by me or Ajit Pawar individually,” the Rajya Sabha member said.

He also claimed Jayant Patil was among the 51 MLAs, who wanted Sharad Pawar to explore the possibility of joining the government. Only Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik were not present, he added.

”The NCP ministers wrote a letter to Sharad Pawar saying the party shouldn’t stay out of power. There is no harm in exploring the possibility of joining the government,” he said.

Asked why the step to join the government was not taken, Patel said, ”No decision was arrived at and the other side may have felt we were not required.” Patel also said despite being so close to Sharad Pawar, he was not aware of the latter deciding to quit as party chief (a few months back).

”I don’t think Sharad Pawar will be upset with me. I will face whatever feelings he has for me,” he said.

Asked about Jayant Patil moving a petition before Assembly Speaker seeking disqualification of Ajit Pawar and eight other MLAs who joined the ruling alliance, Patel said there have been no internal elections in the party. ”Jayant Patil has not been elected as the state party president, and there is no sanctity to decisions taken by him,” he claimed.

On Sharad Pawar sacking him from the party, Patel said he does not wish to comment on the NCP chief’s action.

Asked if he will be part of the Union cabinet, Patel said nothing has been decided as of now. ”We are with them now. May be later,” he said.


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