On the occasion of India's 77th Independence Day, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday hosted a dinner in Bandra's Taj Lands End hotel in Mumbai, in the presence of many ministers including deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis. However, recently-appointed deputy CM Ajit Pawar decided to skip the dinner organised by the CM.
Maharashtra Industries Minister Uday Samant said that he was unable to attend the dinner due to his busy schedule. "It is incorrect to assume that Ajit Pawar did not come because he is upset. He has sent his best wishes and ministers from his party were present at the event," said Samant.
On Sharad Pawar joining the BJP, Samant asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will return to the Centre and Maharashtra with a "thumping majority", after which the senior Pawar will have to decide whether he wants to join the alliance. He also accused the Congress is "scared because no one will stay with them, so they are spreading false rumours".
This comes after a secret meeting was held between Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra Deputy CM at a businessman's residence in Pune. The uncle-nephew meeting intensified political speculation ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections 2024.
Earlier, Ajit Pawar led the rebel MLAs of NCP and joined the Shiv Seva-BJP government in Maharashtra. Sharad Pawar, an ally of the Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT) in the state, on Sunday said that his party will not go with the BJP.
However, some of his well-wishers are trying to pacify him. Senior Pawar also said that nothing is wrong if his nephew meets him.