Ajit Pawar observes fast to atone 'urine' remark

Ajit Pawar observes fast to atone 'urine' remark

Dy CM on penance in Sangli after commenting on agitating farmers

Ajit Pawar observes fast to atone 'urine' remark

Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar by passing a crude remark at agitating drought-hit farmers last week has played straight into the hands of his uncle and NCP chief Sharad Pawar who has been slowly chalking out strategies to alienate his nephew in the outfit.

Sticking close to his image as that of a cold, impetuous and rough-talking political leader Ajit Pawar last week sparked off protests, after he made derogatory comments at the demand of drought-hit farmers for water, stating, “Do they want me to urinate in the dam?”

The remark boomeranged with a sledge-hammer force. While opposition leaders are baying for his blood, the senior NCP leader who had always been nursing an ambition to sit on the coveted chief minister's chair is now at the receiving end.

Notwithstanding his continual doling out apologies, political rivals in the state have refused to lessen the pressure. On Sunday, Ajit Pawar sat on a day-long “atma-klesh” (penance) fast at Karad in Sangli district to repent for his remarks.

However, Sharad Pawar has been quietly toying with the political strategy on different lines. The NCP grapevine has it that the senior Pawar is confident that his party will manage to hoist its flag on the ramparts of state mantralaya; and this probability has sparked off a hope that his daughter Supriya Sule may stand a chance to become Maharashtra's first woman chief minister.

The strategic moves to alienate the “nephew” were put into motion sometime ago; both uncle and nephew a couple of weeks ago took a diametrically opposite stand on the Congress.

The junior Pawar in a public rally last month said the NCP committed a colossal blunder by conceding chief minister's chair to the Congress despite bagging more seats in the state when the two parties came together for the first time to form a coalition government.

The senior Pawar, interestingly, instead of endorsing his nephew's view, rejected the blunder theory; he observed that there was nothing wrong in being a junior partner.

The statement coming at a time when several state NCP leaders had expressed displeasure over the condescending and supercilious attitude of the Congress and had been demanding a change in relationship, stunned everybody.

But then the senior Pawar by rejecting the blunder theory had also deftly deflected the shaky and existential political reality of his past when he had walked out of the Congress by targeting Sonia Gandhi on her foreign origins.

However, while state NCP leaders feel it is time for the party to snap off ties with a battered Congress as most of them feel that the big brother in post-2014 state Assembly may end up nursing and licking its bruises, none of them are able to fathom their chief's enigmatic moves.

Political observers feel that the Maratha strongman, “is waiting for the right time to explode which in all probability will take place after the state assembly polls.”

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