ajit-dada-pawar-1If subtle signals and whispers are anything to go by, all is not well in Sharad Pawar’s NCP. The talks have started when Sharad Pawar met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in Mumbai for the third time. Over the weekend NCP Chief Sharad Pawar set rumor mills ablaze when he had an unscheduled one-on-one with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, his third meeting with the new CM in four days. There were just two of them in the room — no aides, no officials. While nobody in the NCP is willing to go on record, at the centre of this game of intrigue is Sharad Pawar’s nephew, who dislodged Chhagan Bhujbal to claim the Deputy Chief Minister’s post in the new government. It’s well known now that Sharad Pawar was not in favour of this change. Ajit Pawar, however, had his way by getting a large number of party MLAs to sign on a letter of support. And he did not stop at that. Party sources say that he also subverted his uncle’s orders to not change any portfolios by appropriating finance and planning to himself and giving water resources to his trusted aide Sunil Tatkare. Many within the party see these developments as Ajit Pawar’s attempt to come out of his uncle’s shadow and the move does not seem to have gone down well with Sharad Pawar, who has spent much time and energy in the past few years creating space for his daughter, Supriya Sule, in the party. The other factor that is queering the pitch for Pawar is his deteriorating health, making him desperate to bring the two factions in the party together. Supriya Sule’s presence at a meeting of NCP ministers at Nehru Centre last Friday is also being seen as an indication of her own and her father’s unease at Ajit Pawar’s new assertive, even rebellious, avatar. NCP ministers were also surprised by Sharad Pawar’s tone and tenor at the Nehru Centre meet, where he mostly sermoned his men to cooperate with the new Chief Minister. Most felt the words of caution were meant for Ajit Pawar, who is known for his aggressive approach. A minister who was present in the meeting said one Sharad Pawar’s message seemed exclusively aimed at his hot-headed nephew. Sharad Pawar is reported to have said “Remember, you were not born as ministers. All of you will have to perform to be worthy of posts that you are holding”. Will Pawar junior react and will that be the beginning of an succession war in NCP? Only time and the Pawars can tell. Bureau report – NMTV News.

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