Mumbai, Sep 27 (IANS) In a fresh shock to the beleaguered Nationalist Congress Party, former two-time Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday quit as MLA from Baramati, party sources said here.
No reason is given for the abrupt step by Pawar who was named along with his uncle and NCP President Sharad Pawar, besides other political leaders and officials by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the alleged Rs 25,000-crore Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank Ltd. scam on Sep. 24.
Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade confirmed that Ajit Pawar had submitted his resignation as legislator and it has been accepted.
Ajit Pawar personally visited the Speaker’s office and submitted his resignation to the Speaker’s aide.
“He later also sent his resignation by email to me this afternoon and then called me up with a request that it should be accepted. I did not ask for the reasons. As requested, I have accepted the resignation,” Bagade informed the media.
The development came on a fast-paced day when nominations for the October 21 state assembly elections opened against the backdrop of Sharad Pawar’s plans to visit the ED office for investigations.
Incidentally, Ajit Pawar, 60, was conspicuous by his absence earlier today at Sharad Pawar’s home in Silver Oaks Apartment when the latter finally announced he had cancelled plans to go to the ED office.
He made the announcement in the presence of the NCP top brass, and leaders of various alliance parties such as Congress, Samajwadi Party, and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana after the Mumbai Police requested him in view of a possible law and order situation.
Senior party leaders remained incommunicado on the probable reasons behind Ajit Pawar’s quitting his legislative seat which he was slated to contest again.
He is the only leader in the state’s history to have served as Deputy CM on two occasions – between Nov. 2010 to Sept. 2012 and again Oct. 2012 to Sep. 2014.
Speculation was rife in political circles whether Pawar Jr.’s decision indicated a rift within the state’s numero uno political family or whether the ED is likely to summon him for investigations soon or that he could chart a different political course.