Mumbai: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief on Tuesday said he was aware that party leader Ajit Pawar was in touch with the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis even after he distanced himself from his nephew’s political move to join hands with the BJP on November 23.
In an interview to NDTV, Sharad Pawar said: "I knew Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were in talks, but the speculation that I was aware of Ajit's political move is wrong.” He also said that Ajit had been unhappy over the alliance discussions with the Congress and sharing power. Pawar said he did not expect Ajit to act like the way he did.
"We knew that serious differences cropped between the two pre-poll alliance partners (Shiv Sena and BJP after the Maharashtra poll results on October 24) and an understanding was not honoured. Sena was unhappy and we were watching the developments," he said.
Pawar also clarified that there were no talks with the Sena before the elections as Congress-NCP were fighting against the Sena and the BJP.
"But there is a background to this development. There was a heated discussion between myself and Congress leaders from Delhi at the Nehru Centre on certain issues. For a moment, I thought I would not associate with this discussion and that I should not be involved in talks. Ajit was unhappy too and spoke to my colleagues on how we are going to work...There was a tussle over power sharing," he said.
NCP chief said the Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government would complete its full tenure and there was no tussle over the portfolios.
On Monday, Pawar had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed "working together", but that he had rejected the offer.
On November 23, in a surprising political move, Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar took oath as chief minister and deputy chief minister, respectively, even though the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress had almost finalised their alliance and named Uddhav Thackeray as the chief ministerial candidate.
NCP’s Ajit Pawar, however, resigned on November 26, following which Fadnavis also resigned, resulting in the collapse of the government that lasted for only 80 hours.