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Was Ajit Pawar a Trojan Horse, wonders BJP now


Ajit Pawar, in an early morning ‘jhappi’ with his cousin Supriya Sule at the Maharashtra Legislature on Wednesday, furnished due optics that the “estranged” NCP leader is back in the fold. Later in the day, he attended the NCP legislative party meeting and addressed the MLAs, saying that he never left the party. Sources say that he is being tipped as the party floor leader in due course.

But his abrupt change in course has led to eyebrows being raised and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Eknath Khadse questioning former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over his decision to in align with the allegedly tainted Pawar junior. The question doing rounds within the BJP now is whether Ajit Pawar’s “defection” was meant to lure the BJP in forming the government, before he jumped the ship midway.

While the BJP has been caught unaware of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar’s moves and that the fact that the junior Pawar had succumbed to pressure so soon has caused doubts in many BJP leaders, said an insider.

The BJP is trying to ascertain if the moves made by Pawar senior were a scripted coup which the party could not anticipate, said a leader. While the NCP chief has been biggest gainer with Ajit Pawar getting a “clean chit” from the Anti-Corruption Bureau and daughter Supriya Sule getting settled as ‘Gen Next’ leader as she was seen receiving all the MLAs in the assembly.

The Lok Sabha MP from Baramati, who has been in the shadows of her father and cousin has emerged the undisputed heir apparent of the NCP patriarch. With the “revolt” of the junior Pawar, the NCP supremo has given a subtle message to the alliance partners that without him, the government can fall any day.

But Ajit Pawar has also proved that he has clout in his party. On Tuesday, at the Hotel Trident, where the joint legislature party meeting of the alliance partners — the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress — was being held, there were placards reading: “We love you, Ajit Dada Pawar”, though he has not present.

Having “turned the tables” on his mentor and uncle Sharad Pawar on Saturday, Ajit Pawar on Tuesday seem to have succumbed to the persuasion of his extended family and resigned as Deputy Chief Minister, bringing down the short-lived Fadnavis government.

The ‘deal’ or an understanding in the Pawar family is not yet public, but sources say the family is closely-knit and even celebrated ‘Bhai Dooj’ together in the glare of the cameras. The nephew, like his uncle, is unpredictable and temperamental, said a party insider. He often sings one of Kishore Kumar’s best songs: “Mere dil mein aaj kya hai, tu kahe to me bata doon” (What lies in my heart, if you ask, I can tell you). But what is really in the heart of Ajit Pawar, perhaps nobody knows.

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Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar quit after 80 hours in power


In a major political defeat for the Bharatiya Janata Party, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday quit, hours after Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also submitted his resignation, barely 80 hours after they were sworn in on Nov. 23 early morning.

“Ajit Pawar handed in his resignation to me this morning on personal grounds. So, now we don’t have the requisite numbers to continue. Accordingly, I have decided to resign. I shall meet the Governor and submit my resignation today,” Fadnavis told a crowded media conference this afternoon.

Fadnavis took charge of his new assignment on Monday morning, but Ajit Pawar, who did not take charge, decided to quit and gave his resignation letter to the CM on Tuesday morning.

He said the BJP will now sit in the Opposition and perform in a constructive manner, raise the issues of the farmers, the poor and other sections of society.

Fadnavis also thanked the people of Maharashtra and the BJP, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, his colleagues and legislators for reposing faith in him and giving him an opportunity to serve for the past five years as the state CM.

The political development was greeted with distribution of sweets and celebrations by activists of the Shiv Sena, Natioanlist Congress Party and Congress, besides other smaller parties.

Earlier, Fadnavis renewed his tirade against the Shiv Sena for insulting the “public mandate” which it had got in alliance with the BJP and deciding to ally with other parties.

This is the second time in 80 hours that the state was rocked after Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were quietly sworn in during an early morning ceremony on Saturday at Raj Bhavan by Governor B.S. Koshyari, sparking a nationwide furore.

The following day, Sunday, the Sena-NCP-Congress moved the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing which was granted and the matter posted for Monday.

After the hearing on Monday, today the apex court ordered an assembly floor test on Nov. 27, with open voting and live telecast.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Clean chit for Ajit Pawar in irrigation scam cases?


Maharashtra’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Monday gave a clean chit in some of the around 10-year-old irrigation scam cases allegedly involving new Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, officials said here.

The ACB has closed the investigations into at least nine cases in which Ajit Pawar was allegedly involved – though it is not clear if he was directly named in them – on the first day of the new government taking office on Monday, 48 hours after it was sworn-in early on Saturday.

Director-General, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Parambir Singh, however, maintained that “none of these cases closed today pertain to DCM Ajit Pawar”.

These nine files pertain to big and small irrigation projects in Washim, Yavatmal, Amravati and Buldhana under the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) for the Vidarbha region, according to a notification issued by the ACB, Mumbai.

These cases, among others – collectively known as the infamous Rs 70,000 crore ‘Irrigation Scam’ and allegedly perpetrated around 10 years ago – had created a massive political furore in the past.

Ajit Pawar was then handling the Irrigation Department in the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance government, and then opposition parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiv Sena, the Aam Aadmi Party and others raised it regularly to put the government on the mat.

The ACB is investigating around 3,000 complaints related to tenders in irrigation projects, in which two dozen FIRs have been registered and are being investigated as before, and the files closed on Monday are only nine routine cases, ACB officials said.

The officials also said that Monday’s closures are conditional and the files could be reopened if more information comes to light during investigations or on a court order for further probes.

The Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) has taken strong objections to the sudden closure of these alleged scam cases with a threat to launch an agitation and also counter it legally.

“In these nine cases alone pertaining to the VIDC matters, there are very serious allegations of misuse or siphoning off of over Rs 9,000 crore. After so many years, how can they be abruptly closed?” VJAS President Kishore Tiwari told IANS.

He said that the manner in which it has come two days after the new government led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was sworn-in, itself makes the ACB’s move “very suspicious” and would be challenged at all levels.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.



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