At the peak of the Congress' anti-Adani narrative, Sharad Pawar single-handedly destroyed the agenda of the united opposition. Not only that, he also managed to get his own allies guessing regarding what actually he and his party NCP, had in mind.
Keeping both allies and opponents guessing, is a trait of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief.
For months now, the opposition was demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) for carrying out a probe in the Adani issue.
However, Sharad Pawar, in an interview to NDTV; a news channel now owned by the Adani group, stated that while the court is carrying out an investigation via a committee, there was no need for a JPC.
This came as a blow to the main opposition party Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi, who has been demanding a JPC.
Even as his previous remarks that were in favour of Adani came out, Pawar stated that he would not oppose the demand for a JPC only for the sake of opposition unity.
While the statements by Pawar had already made the opposition uncomfortable, his nephew and leader of opposition in Maharashtra assembly, Ajit Pawar, heaped praises on PM Narendra Modi, even applauded his charisma, further unsettling the opposition.
Ajit even went a step ahead and showed confidence in EVM machines, which have been targeted by the opposition parties on a regular basis.
While this wasn’t enough, when the opposition raised the Prime Minister’s degree issue, they were countered by Ajit Pawar, who said degree isn’t important in politics.
Observers are reading multiple reasons into this behaviour by the Pawars.
One of them is possible instability in the Shinde government if the SC delivers a less-than-favourable verdict in the 'Maharashtra case'. The Supreme Court has already reserved its judgment in the matter and is expected to pronounce it soon.
One of the possibilities being considered is that the Shiv Sena may lose 16 MLAs (by disqualification) and then NCP may have to be called in to save the government. The same way how in 2014, NCP saved the Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.
The other reason being speculated is that Uddhav Thackeray, in the last few weeks and months, has gotten new allies which the NCP doesn't approve of.
Pawar is a seasoned politician and is seen as amongst the tallest and most experienced politicians in the country. However, even with him as an ally, Uddhav has managed to look for and get new ones.
As Maharashtra readies for three elections in around 12 months—Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Lok Sabha, and Vidhan Sabha—Pawar has kept his options open and this is just a showcase of his political talents.
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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