Terming Baramati loss ‘surprising,’ Ajit Pawar takes ‘full responsibility’ for NCP’s poll debacle


PTI, Jun 7, 2024, 8:14 AM IST

Credit: PTI

Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday took full responsibility for the NCP’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls and asserted that the defeat in Baramati, viewed as a prestige battle, was surprising.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting of his party MLAs, Pawar said all legislators were firmly with him and rejected speculation that some were planning to defect to the faction led by Sharad Pawar.

“The opposition can say anything. I have always had the support of the people. My MLAs, MLCs have assured me they will always stand by me,” he said.

Speaking about Baramati, where sitting MP Supriya Sule defeated his wife Sunetra Pawar by a huge margin, the deputy CM said, “The result is surprising since I always had the support of the people there.”

Queried about whether he would once again join hands with NCP founder Sharad Pawar, he tersely said he accepted responsibility for the poll debacle, adding “There is no need to bring family matters in public”.

Asserting there would be detailed introspection of the party’s poll performance, the NCP president said some of the reasons included Muslims moving away from the ruling alliance, the Opposition’s allegations of amending in the Constitution, which alienated the Dalits and backward classes, as well as ongoing Maratha quota stir in Marathwada.

Pawar said he had discussed the results with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and asserted appropriate decisions would be taken to win back the support of the people.

Pawar said he had spoken to Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis over the latter’s statement about quitting his post following the poll debacle.

“Fadnavis said we shall talk about it in Delhi tomorrow. I am going to Delhi tomorrow for the NDA meeting,” Pawar added.

Asked about party MLC Amol Mitkari commenting on internal sabotage and lack of support of allies having caused the loss in Baramati and Shirur, Pawar said his colleague had got the “wrong briefing”. “We fell short and I take full responsibility,” he said.

Queried on whether the poll loss was a message from people that they did not approve of defections, Pawar pointed out that the Shinde-led Shiv Sena won seven out of 15 seats it contested. “Defections are not new to Maharashtra. It happened in 1978 as well,” he said in a reference to Sharad Pawar’s move, which led to the veteran becoming chief minister.

The NCP split in July last year after Ajit Pawar and eight MLAs joined the Shinde government.

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