'Did I go anywhere?’ Sharad Pawar reacts to Praful Patel’s claim that he was '50% ready’ to go with BJP in 2023'

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Reacting to NCP leader Praful Patel’s claim that Sharad Pawar was ‘50% ready to join hands with BJP in 2023’ but hesitated at the last moment, the former Maharashtra Chief Minister and NCP-SCP chief on Thursday said he had been saying this for a long time, he had not gone with anyone.

Earlier on Wednesday, the NCP leader claimed that in 2023, when Ajit Pawar (along with some other party members) broke ties with Sharad Pawar to become part of Maharashtra government, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) founder was 50% ready to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but things could not happen because of his ‘last-minute hesitation.’

“Who went there and who stayed? From the day he is referring till today, what is the situation? Did I go anywhere? No.”  the former Maharashtra Chief Minister said in a press conference.

“On 2nd July 2023, when Ajit Pawar and our ministers took oath with Maharashtra govt. On July 15-16, we met Sharad Pawar and requested him to join us. Later, Ajit Pawar and Sharad Pawar met in Pune. He was also 50 per cent ready…Sharad Pawar always hesitates at the last minute,” Patel told ANI on Wednesday.

“In 1996, if Pawar Saheb had agreed to the suggestions of HD Devegowda, then he could have been the PM. Sharad Pawar could have been PM in 1996 itself if he was not hesitant,” he added. 

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In July 2023, Ajit Pawar took oath as the deputy chief minister in the Eknath Sinde-Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra. After the oath-taking ceremony, Ajit Pawar and Sharad Pawar met in Pune, said Praful Patel.

Last year, the former Maharashtra chief minister suffered a major setback after the original name and symbol of the party was alloted to his nephew Ajit Pawar by the Election Commission. After the incident took place, Sharad Pawar, who now leads the NCP-Sharad Chandra Pawar faction, vowed never to join hands with the saffron party.

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Published: 11 Apr 2024, 09:59 PM IST

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