Mumbai: The mid-night drama of government formation in Maharashtra was orchestrated by none other than Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah, sources said on Saturday.
Mr Shah was in contact with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar since the day state BJP leaders submitted a letter expressing their inability to form the government, highly placed sources in the NCP and BJP told The Asian Age. However, it was Sharad Pawar’s move to suggest Supriya Sule’s name for the chief minister’s post for two-and-a-half years that forced Ajit Pawar to join hands with the BJP, a senior Maratha politician told this newspaper. “This was actually the trigger point, due to which Ajit Pawar inked the deal with the BJP as he was not being considered for the chief minister’s post,” he said.
A source in the NCP also confirmed that many people in the party knew that Ajit Pawar was speaking with Mr Shah over the phone but nobody mustered the courage to speak up. “The BJP has used investigative agencies to extract Ajit Pawar from the Maha Vikas Aghadi,” claimed the source. The source also said that an industrialist from Rajasthan, who is a good friend of the NCP leader, also played a crucial role in mediation between the NCP leader and the BJP’s Delhi leadership. The source also claimed that Ajit Pawar had not taken any decision without the approval of his uncle.
A senior BJP leader and former Cabinet minister, requesting anonymity, said that the party’s Central leadership, along with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, was in touch with Ajit Pawar all along.
Another NCP leader, requesting anonymity, said that Ajit Pawar had been expressing his desire to go with the BJP instead of the Shiv Sena since day one. The leader claimed that Ajit Pawar feared an ED crackdown and an inquiry into the irrigation scam.