Ajit’s revolt helped Sharad Pawar’s party in numerous unforeseen ways

Celebrating the 25th foundation day of the party he founded in 1999, the 83-year-old Sharad Pawar issued a resounding call to his followers and party cadre on Monday, urging them to prepare for the upcoming State assembly polls set to occur within the next three months. In a dramatic twist, for the first time in 25 years, there is no ambiguity among Sharad Pawar’s supporters regarding his political successor. His nephew, Ajit Pawar, has already charted his course, aligning with the BJP.

In a bold rebellion, Ajit Pawar not only defied his uncle but also claimed the party’s name and symbol, leaving the Pawar family steadfast in their unity. In a striking show of defiance, Ajit Pawar’s younger brother Sriniwas and his son Yugendra fervently campaigned against Ajit Pawar’s wife, Sunetra, who faced off against Sharad Pawar’s daughter, Supriya Sule, in the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency.

With Ajit Pawar’s departure, Supriya Sule, along with Sharad Pawar’s grandnephews, Yugendra and MLA Rohit Pawar, have seized control of the party’s political reins, ensuring the legacy continues despite the familial divide.

Battles Ahead

Neither Supriya nor Sharad Pawar have commented on Ajit Pawar’s return to the original party. Speaking in Pune on Monday, Supriya skillfully evaded direct questions about Ajit Pawar. Earlier, in Baramati, she rallied the cadre, urging them to be prepared for every election, from panchayat to state polls.

Echoing this determined spirit, Sharad Pawar addressed his followers, declaring, “In the last 25 years, we have tirelessly worked to spread the party’s ideology. Now, let’s unite to advance it further. The state assembly elections are just three months away, and it is our collective responsibility to strive for victory. After the polls, the power of the state will rest in your hands.” His words reverberated with a sense of urgency and resolve, galvanizing his supporters for the battles ahead.

Ajit’s Future

Having won only one of the four seats his party contested, Ajit Pawar has lost his bargaining power within the BJP alliance. Some MLAs who joined him in the revolt are now eager to return to Sharad Pawar. Many of these defectors claim they supported Ajit in backing the BJP due to the looming threat of Enforcement Directorate (ED) actions. After a major debacle in the Lok Sabha polls, these MLAs are increasingly worried about their political prospects. Sources close to Ajit’s NCP say that some of Ajit’s supporter MLAs would join the BJP or contest on the BJP symbol in the assembly polls. 

According to BJP insiders, the party leadership is not keen on continuing the alliance with Ajit Pawar, as he has failed to prove his worth and halt Sharad Pawar’s momentum. Some BJP leaders blame Ajit Pawar for their electoral setback, arguing that his past political history is a burden and that the BJP and RSS cadre are unhappy with his presence in the alliance.

Pawar Power

In July 2023, when Ajit Pawar split from the NCP, he claimed that his elderly uncle refused to retire, prompting his decision to part ways. Ajit even urged Sharad Pawar to quit politics and rest. However, the patriarch demonstrated his enduring power by delivering a significant defeat to his nephew, whose political future now rests in the hands of the BJP.

Ajit Pawar himself is in a precarious position, having failed to secure a victory in the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency. The most concerning factor for Ajit is that the Baramati assembly constituency, which he represents and which falls within the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency, gave Supriya Sule a lead of over 47,000 votes. Now, Ajit faces the daunting challenge of competing against Sharad Pawar’s party candidate in Baramati in the upcoming assembly polls. Probably, Ajit will have to fight against his nephew Yugendra, who is likely to be Sharad Pawar’s NCP candidate.

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