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Pressure Mounting Against Ajit Pawar Within Mahayuti

Pressure is mounting against deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar within the ruling Mahayuti alliance in Maharashtra in view of the ensuing assembly election in the state. Ajit, too, is bracing to face the onslaught as he has been repeatedly proclaiming his allegiance to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. BJP has made it clear it will fight the assembly election together with Ajit. But, ever since the Lok Sabha election results are out, the disappointing performance by the NCP(A) and the heavy price paid by the BJP in several constituencies owing to its decision to take Ajit on board are the twin topics of discussion in political circles. Open opposition to continuance of the NCP(A) in the Mahayuti is being expressed by local leaders of the BJP. CM Eknath Shinde’s certain supporters, too, feel that taking along him will be burdensome for the Mahayuti. The latest flashpoint was Ajit’s decision to invite former minister Nawab Malik at his residence for a party meeting. The BJP is vehemently opposed to Malik’s association as he was detained by the ED in some sensitive matter. Another major factor is Ajit’s reported demand for 85 seats in the 288-member house. Expectedly, the BJP and Shinde’s Sena will vie to become the first and second largest partners in the saffron alliance. According to this arithmetic, the NCP(A) will have to satisfy itself by accepting the third place. Ajit will have to play his cards by keeping this likelihood in sight.