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Ajit told me Sharad Pawar knew of his NCP+BJP plans: Devendra Fadnavis

Updated: Dec 08, 2019, 09.05 AM IST
Fadnavis said Sena had made up its mind from before not to go with BJP, and the break-up had little to do with the CM’s post.


  • NCP leader Ajit Pawar had approached and sought to form a government with BJP, and said Sharad Pawar was aware of his plans: Devendra Fadnavis
  • In an earlier interview, Sharad Pawar had said he knew Ajit was meeting Fadnavis but had no idea about any deal to form a government
(This story originally appeared in on Dec 08, 2019)
MUMBAI: NCP leader Ajit Pawar had approached him seeking to form a government with the BJP, and had said his uncle Sharad Pawar was aware of his plans, former CM Devendra Fadnavis said in an interview to a TV channel on Saturday, speaking in detail about the short-lived BJP-NCP government.

“Ajit Pawar came to me and said they did not want to form a government with the Congress, and that a government with three parties would not be stable. He said he had informed his uncle Sharad Pawar about his plans. In fact, he also told the NCP MLAs who were in contact with him that Sharad Pawar was aware,” said Fadnavis. Significantly, in an earlier interview, Sharad Pawar had said he knew Ajit was meeting Fadnavis but had no idea about any deal to form a government.

Fadnavis said his discussions with Ajit had been on for a few days and that most NCP MLAs were aware of his plans to join hands with the BJP. “I can say that most of the MLAs were aware of it. Not only were they in touch with Ajit Pawar, but I also spoke to several of them myself,” said Fadnavis. He pointed out while their talks took final shape in 1-2 days, “such things do not happen in one day and some preliminary talks must have been there”. Later, NCP denied Fadnavis’ claims.

The former CM stressed that Ajit came of his own accord. “Can anyone force him to do anything? He came of his own will and there were many MLAs from NCP who were supporting him,” said Fadnavis.

Asked if Sharad Pawar was indeed aware of the deal, Fadnavis said: “This you will have to ask Ajit Pawar. He told me he knew. I can only say that there were things behind the scenes and between the lines that will be revealed at an appropriate time.”

He added that everything had also not been revealed about Sharad Pawar’s meeting with PM Narendra Modi shortly before Ajit’s rebellion. Pawar has said Modi asked him to work with the BJP, but he declined the offer. “There were things that happened before and during the meeting. It will be revealed at the right time,” said Fadnavis.

Asked whether the decision to form a government with Ajit Pawar, whom he had targeted for the irrigation scam, had hurt his image, Fadnavis said: “Only time will tell if this was a mistake…We made a secret strike (ganimi kawa) which failed.” He defended the early morning swearing-in after the secret deal, saying that “when president’s rule is lifted, there should be no gap in installation of the new government”.

Fadnavis criticised the ongoing review of projects during his regime by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. “There is nothing wrong with taking a review but if you create an environment where big projects could be scrapped, how will major investors come to the state?” he asked. Reacting to the stay on the Metro car shed at Aarey colony, Fadnavis said his government took the decision to “kill” the trees only after a court verdict. The courts said the carbon sequestered during the lifetime of the trees will be compensated within 80 days of the running of the Metro, he said. “Will the government find a new location for the car shed? And if there is a two-year delay, how will they deal with the cost escalation?” he asked.

Fadnavis said at the request of CM Uddhav Thackeray, he had decided to give the new government a chance but he doubted it would last. “A coalition of parties with ideological differences has not lasted nationally. NCP can join anyone but Shiv Sena and Congress have strong ideological differences,” he said.

Fadnavis said Sena had made up its mind from before not to go with BJP, and the break-up had little to do with the CM’s post. “It appears that Shiv Sena had decided from the beginning to go with other parties. In fact, an NCP MLA had said that after the elections, Sena-NCP and Congress would form the government.” After Sena insisted on sharing the CM’s post, Fadnavis said he made many efforts to resolve the issue and sort out the communication gap. But his calls were not received and requests for a meeting were ignored. “Later I realised they had decided to sideline BJP and go with other parties. But this is a betrayal of the people’s mandate,” he said.

Questioned on the churn within BJP, especially the unhappiness expressed by OBC leaders like Pankaja Munde and Eknath Khadse, Fadnavis said Munde had issued a clarification and much of the issue was a media creation. “The BJP has given the biggest platform to the OBC community. Of the 105 MLAs who won this election, 37 are from the OBC community. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs to the OBC community,” he said.

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