Mumbai/Pune, Sep 27 (IANS) Upset by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) case lodged against him, Nationalist Congress Party leader and former two-time Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has quit as MLA from Baramati, party President Sharad Pawar said here late on Friday.
“I was not aware of his decision. He is a fighter and a blunt speaker who will not leave the battlefield. I learnt about it after speaking with his family,” Sharad Pawar told a crowded press conference at his Modibaug home in Pune.
The Maratha strongman said that according to his family, Ajit Pawar was “greatly disturbed” at the manner in which Sharad Pawar’s name was dragged in the alleged Rs 25,000-crore scam in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank Ltd (MSCB).
“There used to be problems related to the MSCB work in the cooperative sectors, which we used to sort out with the help of other agencies. But Ajit Pawar is particularly distressed after my name (Sharad Pawar’s) came in the picture,” he added.
Pawar said that Ajit Pawar is extremely disgusted over the depths to which politics has plummeted in recent years and gone to extent of advising his son Parth against joining politics and instead take up farming or get into some other business.
“I get the impression Ajit Pawar may even consider quitting politics,” Pawar said.
“The real reasons behind his decision I will learn only after I meet him. I can assure that there are no differences in the family where I am the head and my word in final. There may have been disputes over some political issues but even those were ironed out after discussions,” Pawar said, urging the media not to portray the family in bad light.
Earlier this evening, 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, stunning state political circles.
“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 told 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 on Friday at Sharad Pawar’s home in Silver Oaks Apartment when the latter finally announced he had cancelled plans to go to the ED office.
The younger Pawar is the only leader in the state’s history to have served as Deputy CM on two occasions – from November 2010 to September 2012 and again October 2012 to September 2014.