Fresh Political Turmoil In Maharashtra? Pawar Factions Claim More Rebellion From MPs, MLAs

June 19,2024

With only a few months left for the Maharashtra assembly elections, the rumblings are yet again taking place within both factions of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra painted a grim picture for the Ajit Pawar-led NCP as it could win only one seat while the Sharad Pawar-led NCP-SP bagged eight seats. Since the NCP has just one seat, it was offered the post of Minister Of State with Independent Charge by the BJP which it rejected saying that it needs a Cabinet minister's post as soon its number of MPs will increase to four. The NCP leaders were indicating that some NCP-SP MPs will switch sides. 

Now, a similar mind game has been played by NCP-SP leader Rohit Pawar, who is the grandnephew of Sharad Pawar. Rohit claimed that there are 18-19 MLAs of the Ajit Pawar faction who have never spoken ill against party founder Sharad Pawar and may switch sides after the monsoon session of the Maharashtra assembly. 

The monsoon session of the legislature is set to begin on June 27 and will conclude on July 12. This will be the final session before the state prepares for assembly elections scheduled for October.

The NCP divided into two factions after July 2023 split - one led by Ajit Pawar and another led by Sharad Pawar. The undivided NCP won 54 assembly seats in the 2019 elections. After the party split in July 2023, the Ajit Pawar-led faction claimed the support of about 40 MLAs.

Rohit, an MLA from Karjat-Jamkhed, said that Sharad Pawar and other NCP (SP) leaders will decide on whom to readmit into the party. 

The mind game has got interesting ahead of the Maharashtra assembly polls as leaders from both factions are weighing options and the success probability of the opposite bloc. While the success of NCP-SP in the Lok Sabha elections has indicated that people trust Sharad Pawar over Ajit Pawar, the MLAs with NCP may be confused sensing a low winning probability, which may or may not be true. 

The assembly elections this year will again witness a direct contest between two tripartite blocs - Mahayuti or NDA consisting of Shiv Sena-Shinde, BJP and NCP Ajit Pawar pitted against Maha Vikas Aghadi or INDIA bloc of Shiv Sena-UBT, NCP-SP and Congress.