Anxious NCP still hopes to win back Ajit Pawar
Unwilling to let go, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Monday continued to woo back rebel leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who along with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in here on Saturday.
In the fourth such series of meetings, the NCP deployed former Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal who visited Pawar's home and tried to convince him to return to the NCP fold.
He was joined by at least two other senior leaders and former Ministers -- Dilip Walse-Patil and Sunil Tatkare -- who were closeted with Pawar for around three hours in his Mantralaya office to discuss and sort out issues.
"We had a long meeting with him and are trying to convince him to come back. There's no definite commitment from his side, but we are hopeful of a positive response," Bhujbal told mediapersons.
NCP sources said it was the "final effort" by the party and thereafter it will be left to the sulking Pawar's conscience and decision.
On Sunday, some top leaders, including NCP state chief Jayant Patil, had called on Pawar twice at his home to win him over, ahead of the crucial vote of confidence in the Assembly.
Simultaneously, members of the Pawar clan -- including Rohit R. Pawar, the newly elected legislator and grand-nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, and MP Supriya Sule-Pawar, have also issued appeals on social media, extending an olive branch to Ajit Pawar.
Rohit Pawar even went to the extent of pleading that in this critical time, "the family and party must remain united" and stand solidly between senior Pawar to weather the political crises.
It maybe recalled that a social media war erupted after Ajit Pawar claimed he was still with the NCP, he had the support of the 54 MLAs, and Sharad Pawar remained his leader.
However, Sharad Pawar had hit back denying his nephew's claims and asserted that the NCP was now allied with the Shiv Sena and the Congress of the proposed Maha Vikas Aghadi.IANS