On Wednesday (5 July), when Ajit Pawar spoke, he spoke his heart out.
He reminded Sharad Pawar everything — his promises, and even his failed attempt of joining the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government not just in 2019, but even in 2017.
The Ajit Pawar we saw on Wednesday was a different politician that Maharashtra used to see all these years.
The earlier Ajit Pawar was the one who acted as his uncle Sharad Pawar desired. Today's Ajit Pawar was the free man, who could speak his mind, without any fear.
Ajit Pawar admitted that he was portrayed as the villain in spite of merely following orders.
However, now Ajit Pawar has stopped following orders and even advised his uncle to retire.
But where is Ajit Pawar drawing the courage from? The answer lies in numbers.
Politics is all about numbers, whichever party has numbers, wins and grabs power. Ajit Pawar for the first time in the history of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has the numbers with him.
He had the numbers even before he decided to switch sides. Ajit Pawar, the now Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, according to political sources had all the numbers required to carry out the rebellion against his uncle and NCP chief Sharad Pawar almost a month in advance.
Even during the show of strength by both the factions of NCP, it was Ajit Pawar who had the maximum numbers. He was flanked by top NCP leaders like Praful Patel, Chaggan Bhujbal, Sunil Tatkare and also Narhari Zirwal, who also is the deputy speaker of Maharashtra assembly.
The two important people to decide on any disqualification proceeding against an MLA is the Speaker of the house and in his absence, the deputy speaker.
The Speaker of the house is from the BJP, which is part of the government, and the deputy speaker is from NCP and is with the faction represented by Ajit Pawar.
Ajit Pawar had everything set. He can no longer remain as the second rung leader of the NCP and knows if not now then never.
That is the reason why he reminded the NCP patriarch that when he in the late 1970s became the chief minister of the state for the first time, even his story was same as that of Ajit Pawar's.
Ajit Pawar also reminded Sharad Pawar that he became the chief minister at the age of 38, and every instance when Ajit Pawar could have assumed the chair Sharad Pawar backed off.
Ajit Pawar's displeasure with his uncle was visible and he made no attempt to hide it.
What he is doing now is exactly what Eknath Shinde did last year.
Ajit Pawar is not just claiming the post of deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, but also that of his uncle, who is the party president.
Apart from numbers, Ajit Pawar is also drawing his strength from Delhi. It is believed that he has the full support of Devendra Fadnavis and also that of BJP high command.
Ajit Pawar knows that his future is safe only if he draws it by himself. If he leaves it in his uncle's hands, then he will suffer the way he did until now.
Ajit Pawar knows that it is daughter Supriya Sule, whom Sharad Pawar prefers over him and will do everything to make her political career, even if that means sacrificing Ajit Pawar.
Ajit Pawar has not only his political career to worry about but also his son Parth Pawar’s, who lost the last Lok Sabha polls, which came as a shock, because no Pawar had lost elections in Maharashtra earlier.
Sharad Pawar, on several occasions, had even spoken against Parth Pawar, impacting his political future. At the same time, Sharad Pawar kept promoting his grand-nephew Rohit Pawar.
Ajit Pawar has several reasons to abandon Sharad Pawar, but without Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar has a lot to lose.
According to sources, Ajit Pawar has more than 40 MLAs, who have declared their support to him.
While Sharad Pawar has MLA support in single digit.
Sharad Pawar has woken up to the threat finally, and his tone has changed now, from blessing Ajit Pawar on Sunday to taking him on, on Wednesday.
One point everyone is missing is that even if Sharad Pawar wants to let go Ajit Pawar and the party, it is his daughter Supriya Sule who won't make it easy. She and Ajit Pawar follow altogether different ideologies, and Ajit Pawar knows till the time he doesn't take over the party completely, the threat will always loom over his head.
The fight for the NCP party and its symbol has reached the Election Commission of India. The fight will go on for a long time with 40 elected representatives of NCP having already sided with Ajit Pawar. He knew that only numbers will help him and he has got it.
Ajit Pawar by unseating his uncle has spoiled his chances of becoming the face of the ‘opposition unity’. The BJP has managed to break the opposition unity even before it could form itself.
The plan is big, Ajit Pawar has taken the long jump, and ended up spoiling his uncle's dream of participating in the long run of opposition unity.
Varun Singh, is a Mumbai-based journalist and tracks politics and other important news from the western region of the country. Varun has spent close to 18 years in journalism.
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