Ajit Pawar's surprising, yet expected political move

MUMBAI: Ajit Pawar's decision to side with the BJP and support Devendra Fadnavis in the formation of a government in Maharashtra, may not have left many in the political circles surprised at all, but it did send many of its party supporters in the state, in shock and confusion. The move was seen as a betrayal of his uncle, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who had spent his entire political career building his party and nurturing the political careers of his close family members, including Ajit Pawar. 

The then Shiv Sena united under the Uddhav Thackeray-NCP-Congress alliance had already been working on forming a government in Maharashtra after the results of the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections. However, on November 23, 2019, just hours after his uncle Sharad Pawar's support to the Shiv Sena-led party for the formation of a non-BJP government, in a late-night move, Ajit Pawar took the oath of Deputy Chief Minister along with Devendra Fadnavis as the Chief Minister.

This move was met with widespread outrage event hen, not just from the opposition parties but also from within the NCP and people saw this as Ajit Pawar's biggest political miscalculation, and it would be safe to say that it did cause a massive dent in the reputation of both himself and the party. Many speculated that the move was motivated by the desire for power and the potential to control various departments of the government. Some even said that he would now be sidelined and may have to remain as a subdued leader within the party.

However that episode ended very quickly, after a short of being in power, Fadnavis resigned as the Chief Minister as he did not have the required numbers to form the government and so did Ajit Pawar resigned as Deputy Chief Minister, but his re-induction into the NCP was delayed until months later, following mediation by Sharad Pawar.

There was a clamour within the party too, with many NCP MLAs who were elected on the party ticket immediately seeking to disown him at that time, and some even went as far as to demand disciplinary action against him. Needless to say, the political fallout of this move was indeed swift and damaging. 

Since that time, the episode of Ajit Pawar ditching Sharad Pawar has been a discreet yet constant topic of discussion in Maharashtra politics. Several people speculated at different times about his impending move. It has left a bitter taste in people's mouths and damaged the faith that the electorate had placed in the NCP, making it harder for the party to hold onto power in Maharashtra.

So when Ajit Pawar took the oath of office as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, it did not come as a surprise to many and although it will be remembered as a distinct point in his political career and his relationship with his uncle Sharad Pawar, at the same time it also serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of politics and the true extent of loyalty that exists in political relationships in India. 

We must not forget that Ajit Pawar is not a newbie, he is a seasoned politician and besides being nephew of Sharad Pawar, he has been an influential figure in Maharashtra politics for several years. He has held various ministerial positions and played a crucial role in the formation of previous governments. However, his recent decision to align with the Shiv Sena-BJP government has surely raised eyebrows and sparked intense speculation. In politics it is said, one month is a big time, but in India, it can be said even one day can be huge.


  • Rommel Rodrigues
    Rommel Rodrigues

    Rommel is our Editor. He has close to three decades of experience in leading publishing houses including, Fortune India, Observer of Business & Politics, The New Indian Express etc.

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