published by, Sanstuti Nath
Last Update: July 11, 2023, 09:14 AM IST
Maharashtra cabinet minister Chhagan Bhujbal has said that even though he has forged an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party, he has not given up his “ideology”, and has on several occasions slammed NCP founder Sharad for changing his stand on joining hands with the BJP. Criticized Pawar.
Bhujbal claimed that 45 out of 53 NCP MLAs have gone with Ajit Pawar and said, “What would I have done by staying outside.” Talking to reporters at Mahatma Phule Wada in Pune on Monday, Bhujbal said that Sharad Pawar had announced his support to the BJP in 2014. After the assembly elections, it formed the government without the support of the Shiv Sena.
“At that time I was surprised and said that we are in opposition. Even in 2017, when I was in jail, five leaders of NCP and five leaders of BJP had discussed about inclusion of NCP in the government. At that time, the BJP was asked to drop its ally Shiv Sena to pave the way for a BJP-NCP government. Then he (senior senior) also retreated,” he claimed.
Asked whether he has changed his ideology, from being a follower of social reformers like Mahatma Phule to now aligning with Hindutva forces, Bhujbal said he has not merged with the BJP.
“Nitish Kumar (Bihar CM) was with them (BJP), he left…Mamata Banerjee was there (in the BJP-led NDA), she came out. Though we have tied up with them, we have not given up our ideology.”
On July 2, eight other NCP legislators, including Bhujbal and Ajit Pawar, took oath as cabinet ministers in the Eknath Shinde government after parting ways with the 24-year-old party. Ajit Pawar took over as the Deputy Chief Minister.
Bhujbal said, in 2019 also it was decided to go with BJP.
A meeting was held in New Delhi where it was decided that the BJP would leave its alliance partner Shiv Sena and the NCP would form the government with the national saffron party, the prominent OBC leader said.
“After BJP and Shiv Sena broke ties over the issue of sharing the CM post (after 2019 assembly polls), NCP was asked to come together. He (Pawar) said ‘yes they are with BJP’ and Pawar supported and it was decided that we will go with BJP. He backtracked again and formed the government with the Shiv Sena (with the Congress as the third partner),” he said.
Angered by this attitude, Bhujbal claimed that Ajit Pawar was sworn in as Deputy CM and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister at a ceremony in the Raj Bhavan early in the morning.
The rebel NCP leader said a similar decision to go with the BJP was taken a few months ago, but the move was suddenly cancelled.
“How long will this kind of inconsistent stand continue? How much credibility will there be (if decisions are changed frequently). We (BJP and NCP) will keep fighting (in public) and you will keep talking (behind closed doors). Nobody liked (this stand),” he said.
Responding to a question, Bhujbal said that on July 2, he had received a call from Sharad Pawar and he had said that he would go to the Raj Bhavan and see what was happening there.
He also claimed that the former Union minister often takes decisions without consulting others.
“I told him that I will go (Raj Bhavan) and see what is happening, but it did not mean that I did not know anything. He (Sharad Pawar) announced his resignation (as party chief in May) without informing us. They took it back without informing us. They discuss in Delhi, but we are not told,” the minister said.
Bhujbal said it was he who had suggested to Sharad Pawar after his resignation in May to make his daughter and Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule the acting president of the NCP to reduce the organizational workload on her.
“Two resolutions were passed in the committee that was formed to take a decision on his resignation. One was that Pawar saheb would withdraw his resignation and if he insisted on stepping down, Sule should be made the National Working President of the NCP. At that time (NCP leader) PC Chacko and Jitendra Awhad shouted at (party leader) Praful Patel (who is now in the Ajit Pawar camp),” he said.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI,