/As rumor of NCP split dies down, sparks fly between allies Sanjay Raut and Ajit Pawar

As rumor of NCP split dies down, sparks fly between allies Sanjay Raut and Ajit Pawar

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MP Sanjay Raut.  Archive

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MP Sanjay Raut. File | Photo credit: ANI

While rumors of Ajit Pawar joining the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena dispensation may have apparently subsided, friction between Pawar and his coalition ally Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) , Shiv Sena (UBT) Leader Sanjay Raut continued.

A day after Pawar dismissed rumors he would join the ruling parties as “baseless”, Raut said on Wednesday he was the chowkidar (watchman) of the MVA alliance (of the Thackeray-led Seine, NCP and Congress). and that the NCP leader had no reason to “be angry or blame” him (Mr. Raut) if he exposed the fact that the BJP was trying to break up the NCP.

Read also | As rumors of Ajit Pawar defecting to BJP rise, Sharad Pawar denies reports of schism within NCP

“I am the chowkidar [watchman] of the MVA… When the Shiv Sena was being divided [referring to Eknath Shinde’s revolt]all our allies [NCP chief] Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar and Nana Patole from Congress expressed their concern for us. It is our duty to make sure that all our allies stand firm when the BJP exerts pressure in the form of central agencies to break us,” Mr Raut said, speaking to reporters in Mumbai.

The Sena (UBT) leader further said that Mr. Ajit Pawar was no one to question his (Mr. Raut’s) reliability.

“How can you question my trustworthiness? I can accept yes [NCP president] Sharad Pawar says something. And what’s wrong if I’ve written in the samaná that there was an attempt to break the opposition in Maharashtra? Hasn’t the BJP broken the Shiv Sena? Aren’t they targeting the NCP? Go and ask the CPN leaders Hasan Mushrif, Jitendra Awhad, Praful Patel or Anil Deshmukh if ​​there is any pressure on them or not. If I’m putting these things in front of the public, what’s wrong with that, Raut said, adding that he would always tell the truth and that if he hurt someone, there was nothing he could do about it.

Speculation about Ajit Pawar’s possible departure from the NCP peaked after Raut, who is the executive editor of his party’s spokesman. samanáHe claimed that during Uddhav Thackeray’s recent meeting with Sharad Pawar, the latter reportedly discussed the pressure that central agencies put on NCP leaders, but assured Mr Thackeray that the NCP would not ally with the BJP, no matter what. what happens

In his weekly column rok thokMr Raut had further claimed that Mr Pawar had told Mr Thackeray that while the party as a whole would not join the BJP, if anyone wished to make a personal decision [to leave the NCP and join the ruling BJP]then it’s your lookout.

The reference to “individuals who want out of the NCP” reportedly referred to Ajit Pawar, who had tried to form a government with the BJP after the 2019 Assembly elections.

On Tuesday, while refuting rumors surrounding his political moves, Ajit Pawar harshly rebuked Mr. Raut without naming him, claiming that spokesmen for other parties were acting as mouthpieces for the NCP.

“Who has given them the right to speak on our behalf? We are quite capable of expressing our own position in a firm manner. We don’t need anyone to act as our legal counsel,” Ajit Pawar had said.

In response, Mr. Raut said that it was ironic that Ajit Pawar blamed him.

“Why are you mad at me? When the Shiv Sena was breaking, you [NCP and Congress] they were acting as our defense. We have uncovered the BJP’s conspiracy to break up the NCP. They should be the ones to get mad at me. The BJP has taken off their mask…the way they are trying to break up the parties by putting pressure on the agencies has been fully exposed and now they have gone on the defensive,” the Sena (UBT) leader said.

Although known for his affinity with Sharad Pawar, Mr. Raut, known for his scathing speech, has not endeared himself to Ajit Pawar or the head of the state Congress, Nana Patole. with whom relations remain delicate at best.

Similarly, the Sena ‘rebel’ faction led by CM Eknath Shinde has always considered Mr. Raut and his proximity to Sharad Pawar as one of the main reasons for their revolt last year.