‘We cannot accept Ajir Pawar if he comes to join us as a member of the NCP.’
‘NCP is not welcome to us.’
Shiv Sena MLA from Aurangabad and party spokesperson, Sanjay Shirsat, who first spoke about welcoming Ajit Pawar to join the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra now claims that Pawar is welcome to join the government only if he quits the Nationalist Congress Party and joins as an individual apart from accepting the ideology followed by the BJP and Shiv Sena.
Shirsat, who had written an open letter to then Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in June 2022, after he joined the Eknath Shinde-led rebellion, also clarified that even if Ajit Pawar joins the government, the BJP will have to sacrifice its ministerial portfolios and not the Shiv Sena, now led by Chief minister Eknath Shinde.
“Our stand is clear — he is welcome if he joins at an individual level, accepts Balasaheb’s and the BJP’s ideology; also, (even if he joins) our ministerial strength will not change. The BJP will have to give (Ajit Pawar’s group ministries) from their pool of ministers,” Shirsat tells Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com over the phone.
There are reports of Ajit Pawar joining the BJP-Shiv Sena government…
He will not join the government soon. The process is on, though. Whenever that happens, the Shiv Sena will welcome it. But we would welcome Ajit Pawar only if he quits the NCP and then joins the government.
If he comes and joins the government as an NCP MLA, then it will not be acceptable to us.
If we were to join hands with the NCP again, then why did we rebel (against Uddhav Thackeray) in the first place?
Our opposition was to the Sharad Pawar-led NCP and so we rebelled (against Uddhav Thackeray).
We will always remain opposed to Sharad Pawar’s NCP.
Why do you distrust Sharad Pawar so much?
He has been consistently changing his views about which party to join hands with for the sake of power. You cannot trust when he will ditch you for someone else.
He quit the Congress in 1999 under the excuse that Sonia Gandhi was a foreigner and he didn’t accept a foreigner as his leader. But the same Pawar joined hands with the Congress to capture power in Maharashtra.
He joined hands with the Shiv Sena, whom he considered his enemy number one, in 2019 because he wanted to enjoy the perks of power.
Then he gave covert support to (Ajit Pawar) to join hands with the BJP (the government led by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar in 2019 fell within 72 hours).
Why do you think he does all this? Because he just can’t stay away from power. And now that the EC (Election Commission) has withdrawn the status of national party from the NCP, he more than ever needs power to sustain his political ambitions.
You claimed that the Shiv Sena will quit the BJP government if BJP joins hands with Ajit Pawar and becomes part of the state government?
Yes. We will welcome Ajit Pawar with open arms. But we cannot accept if he comes to join us as a member of the NCP. NCP is not welcome to us.
If Ajit Pawar accepts the ideology (of Hindutva) espoused by the BJP and Shiv Sena he is welcome anytime. Let him say he does so and we will welcome him with open arms.
Chief minister Eknath Shinde is yet to speak out his mind on the issue of reports of Ajit Pawar joining the BJP-Shiv Sena government. Did he have meeting with Shiv Sena MLAs about what will be your party’s role if this happens?
No, we did not have any meeting yet but our position is clear. Our stand is clear that he is welcome if he joins at an individual level, accepts Balasaheb’s and BJP’s ideology; also, (even if he joins) our ministerial strength will not change. The BJP will have to make give (Ajit Pawar’s group ministries) from their pool of ministers.
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