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Not in touch with Ajit Pawar, never contacted him: Maharashtra BJP president

PUNE: The Bharatiya Janata Party never contacted NCP leader Ajit Pawar and certain imaginary news is being spread, state BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule claimed on Monday.

He said, in fact, the junior Pawar is being targeted by Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), which includes Shiv Sena (UBT), Nationalist Congress Party, and Congress.

Speaking to reporters in Pune on the sidelines of a conclave of BJP’s in-charges of poll booths, Bawankule claimed Sharad Pawar’s decision to resign as NCP chief and subsequent U-turn was nothing but a “nautanki” (drama). He said the entire resignation episode was “scripted”.

“Neither I nor Ajit Pawar have been in contact with each other for the last four months. In fact, the junior Pawar is being targeted by MVA. We (BJP) never contacted Ajitdada and imaginary news is being circulated,” he said.

Intense speculation about Ajit Pawar’s future political steps started doing rounds last month after Sharad Pawar reportedly told Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray that NCP will never join hands with the BJP, even if anyone takes an individual decision to do so.

On his part, Ajit Pawar had scotched such speculation and said he would remain in NCP till he lives.

Queried about the churn caused by Sharad Pawar’s announcement to step down as NCP president and subsequent withdrawal of that decision, Bawankule said the developments in NCP over three days were a script and everyone knew about it.

“I strongly believe so though some people may differ. But the pertinent question is how will a big leader like (Sharad) Pawar who became president of several cooperative bodies including Rayat Shikshan Sanstha by altering their constitutions, can allow anyone to become the president of the party founded by him?” the BJP leader questioned.

Bawankule said he knew about the recent “game” in the NCP. “This episode was nothing but a ‘vagnatya’ (folk drama). I knew they wanted to do nautanki for three days, which they did”.

When asked if NCP is playing as a “B team” of BJP in Karnataka polls by fielding at least 40 candidates, Bawankule said such an assumption was not true.

“The BJP does not need the help of NCP. The BJP is present at the grassroots in Karnataka. The way Prime Minister Modiji is reaching out to people there, we are sure to win more than 105 seats and form a government (again),” he said.

Some opposition parties had alleged that BJP leaders from Maharashtra are campaigning against Marathi-speaking people in Karnataka, a state which has a long-standing border dispute with Maharashtra.

When asked about these allegations, Bawankule said there is no compromise when it comes to the BJP’s poll symbol ‘lotus’ and the party ideology.

“Lotus is our ideology, and every leader and worker works for the party under our poll symbol,” he said and added that the BJP has not deviated from its stand and is committed to (resolving) issues of Marathi-speaking people living in Karnataka.

He evaded a direct reply when asked if BJP has prepared “plan B” anticipating the Supreme Court’s ruling on the dispute between Shiv Sena (UBT) and Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

“There is no place for ifs and buts in life. Let the decision come. If the opposition demands to prove the majority tomorrow, the Shinde-led government (of which BJP is a part) will win the majority with more than 184 votes (in the 288-member House,” Bawankule claimed.

Source: Press Trust of India

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