‘No comments’, says Ajit Pawar after his rebel NCP faction leader Praful Patel clicks photo with Sharad Pawar

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Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. File 

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. File 
| Photo Credit: PTI

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday categorically refused to comment on a recent photo taken by his faction’s leader Praful Patel along with NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Mr. Patel, a key member of the rebel NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar, had shared a photo of himself along with NCP patriarch Mr. Sharad Pawar earlier this week in the new Parliament building’s Rajya Sabha chamber, raising eyebrows given the two rival NCP factions (led by Mr. Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit) have been fighting it out for control over the party.   

“I do not want to comment on it. You [the press] keep asking me to remark on this one’s photo, that one’s photo. This is not my job. I will only comment on development issues. After all, we have joined this government to solve problems facing the people of this State,” said Mr. Ajit Pawar, speaking to reporters in Pune’s Pimpri-Chinchwad township.

On September 19, Mr. Patel, a former Union Minister and one of Mr. Sharad Pawar’s oldest associates, had posted a picture of him and Mr. Sharad Pawar on the micro-blogging site X (formerly Twitter).

‘Even more special’

“An electrifying day at the new Parliament House! The Rajya Sabha Chamber is a marvel, and sharing this moment with Hon’ble Sharad Pawar Saheb makes it even more special. And now, savouring some snacks and camaraderie with friends in the cafeteria – truly a day to remember,” Mr. Patel had said.

Mr. Patel has been one of the most important members of the rebel faction led by Mr. Ajit Pawar and had severely criticised Mr. Sharad Pawar’s leadership following the July 2 split within the NCP following Ajit’s joining the ruling Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena-BJP government along with several NCP leaders.

Despite the photo, Mr. Sharad Pawar had hit out at Mr. Patel during his Gujarat visit on Saturday, expressing displeasure before his faction’s cadre that Mr. Patel had gone over to Mr. Ajit Pawar’s side despite being offered plum positions within the NCP.

The faction led by Mr. Ajit Pawar has staked claim to the party name and symbol before the Election Commission.

Since then, the struggle for supremacy has intensified within the NCP with both rival factions filing disqualification petitions against each other, submitting them to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar.

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