Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule scuttled NCP move to join NDA Govt?

Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule
If political circles are to be believed, the high-profile brother-sister duo – Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule (Sharad Pawar’s nephew and daughter) seem to have scuttled the reported NCP move to join the NDA Government. Speculations were abuzz that NCP is likely to join the Narendra Modi-led Government and could also get Cabinet berths in the next reshuffle.

The senior NCP leader Praful Patel, however, had denied reports that the Nationalist Congress Party was going to join the NDA Government. There is no basis for speculation that the NCP is joining the Government in Delhi, Patel had said. The speculation was sparked by a perceived closeness between NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Pawar.

But the real players who “forced” the NCP backtrack from joining the NDA Government could be the high-profile brother-sister duo Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule. The Modi-Shah “diplomacy” had almost succeeded in bringing NCP into NDA fold for more political reasons than one. It is learnt, the Prime Minister, BJP President and a big industrialist had “succeeded in convincing” the senior NCP leader Praful Patel who in turn “convinced” the party supremo Sharad Pawar to come closer to the ruling party at the Centre. Even Cabinet berths for 2-3 leaders from NCP quota were discussed and the names were put before Sharad Pawar for his “nod.”

However, the “plot” got filtered down to other NCP leaders – Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule. Reacting to the reported move, both Ajit and Supriya, till now maintaining a distance from each other in their respective political activities, suddenly came together and opposed Patel’s move with full might and also ‘stopped’ Sharad Pawar from going closer to Modi-Shah dispensation.

It is also learnt that a ‘message’ from ruling party was ‘conveyed’ to NCP that all cases slapped on the party leaders would buried if the party comes into NDA fold. This “blackmailing” reportedly ruffled the feathers in Ajit-Supriya’s caps and they decided to oppose the party move to join Modi Cabinet tooth and nail. Subsequently, a high-level meeting of NCP was convened and a decision was taken to snub the NDA offer. A message was conveyed to Modi-Shah duo that the NCP would not be part of the expanded ministry.

One of the logics behind Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule opposing NCP move to join Modi Government is that the party is very strong in one region of Maharashtra. Secondly, the kind of “blackmailing” tactics seem to have did not go down well with the brother-sister duo. The BJP plan to bring NCP into NDA fold stemmed from the fact that it wanted to counter Shiv Sena’s frequent threats to pull down Fadnavis Government. Had NCP come closer to NDA, the BJP would have been in a position to “oust” Shiv Sena from alliance in the State. By embracing NCP, Fadnavis Government could breath easy as it would have shown the tantrum-throwing Shiv Sena its place.