The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) heaved a collective sigh of relief as a key ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) weathered what turned out to be a storm in a teacup.
It came hours after the family patriarch and NCP President Sharad Pawar, 79, had publicly scorned his 30-year-old grandnephew Parth Pawar on a couple of issues.
The son of Sharad Pawar’s nephew and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Parth had recently demanded a CBI probe into the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput and heralded the Ram Temple ceremony in Ayodhya on August 5, terming it as a “civilizational awakening for Bharat” in a letter and signing off with “Jai Shree Ram”.
“Ajit Pawar is not at all unhappy. Pawar Saheb is the head of the NCP and his family, he has every right to suggest, instruct, guide and order on any issue,” Patil declared after the meeting.
Patil also said that everyone has a freedom to express his/her views, but if he (Parth) had said anything, he claimed he was not aware of it, nor will any explanation be sought from Parth.
In an unprecedented outburst, Sharad Pawar on Wednesday openly snubbed Parth when mediapersons queried him on the latter’s statements.
“His statements are not worth even a nickel. He is immature. We do not give much importance to it,” said Sharad Pawar.
“I have 100 pecent faith in the Maharashtra Police. I have known them, and even the Mumbai Police, for 50 years. They are making a detailed probe. Even after that if someone wants a CBI probe then I won’t oppose them,” Pawar Sr. said, fully backing the state police force.
Pawar Sr.’s statement took political circles by shock and awe amid speculation of cracks emerging in the clan, briefly unnerving the other MVA partners, the Shiv Sena-Congress.
The unexpected eruption from Pawar Sr. — who is never known to speak on family issues publicly — was all the more stunning as he had not reacted so harshly even when Ajit Pawar had joined hands with Bharatiya Janata Party’s Devendra Fadnavis to form a two-man, 80-hour long government in November 2019.
Not surprisingly, BJP leader Nitesh Rane prodded Parth with loaded tweets, saying: “I am repeating — You’re a long-race horse. Don’t stop, friend.”
However, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis was more diplomatic by labeling it as a “family issue”, though he welcomed Parth’s demand for a CBI probe in the Sushant matter.
The other two MVA allies — Sena and Congress — did not react and looked the other way as the NCP quickly sorted out the issue.