All eyes on Pawar as Maha stalemate continues

Mumbai: Amid the continuing stalemate over the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, NCP chief and Union Minister Sharad Pawar is arriving here on Friday and is expected to take a final call on the issue.

Pawar will attend a meeting of the NCP legislature party at 4 PM tomorrow, party sources said today.

A meeting of NCP legislators had yesterday unanimously adopted a resolution requesting Ajit Pawar to take back his resignation. Top NCP leaders are in Kolhapur today to attend the funeral of party veteran and former state Assembly Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan held a series of informal meetings at ‘Varsha’, his official residence, with Congress leaders and legislators on the prevailing political situation. State Congress chief Manikrao Thakre also met party office bearers and workers at the state party office to apprise them of the developments.

Congress sources speaking on condition of anonymity said there is no need for the party to convene a formal meeting of office bearers or legislators because no decision is required to be taken now.

“The only decision that is to be taken by Chavan is on accepting Ajit Pawar’s resignation. This will be done after he talks to Ajit Pawar and Sharad Pawar,” the sources said. In an indication of a division in the party on Ajit Pawar’s resignation, NCP legislators yesterday requested him to withdraw it, while Sharad Pawar’s close aide and Union Minister Praful Patel said it should be accepted.

However, everybody has maintained that Sharad Pawar’s decision will be final. Talking informally to the media, Ajit Pawar had last night rejected suggestions of a rift between him and uncle Sharad Pawar.

“This (reports of rift) is a creation of the media. Sharad Pawar is the supreme leader of the party and his decision (on the resignation) will be final,” he said but refused to comment when asked if he would withdraw the resignation if asked by the NCP supremo.