Mumbai: His party managed to win only one of the four Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra. Despite the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Mahawati alliance, he failed to register a victory in his home turf, the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency, where his wife Sunitra was contesting for the first time.

MUMBAI, INDIA – MAY 27, 2024: NCP (Ajit Faction) president Ajit Pawar and the party’s Maharashtra president Sunil Thakre during a press conference on Monday, May 27, 2024 in Mumbai, India.

These are tough times for Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. Despite winning three seats in the recently held Arunachal Pradesh assembly elections, his faction of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), formed just 10 months ago, is already facing an uncertain future.

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In July 2023, Pawar led a split in the NCP, a party formed by his uncle and political leader Sharad Pawar in 1999. Despite having 39 MLAs on their side, being part of the state government, and retaining the NCP name and symbol, their faction could only win the Raigarh seat, where sitting MPs and Maharashtra NCP’s President Sunil Tatkare was contesting for the second term. This was the lowest number in both the ruling and opposition alliances in the state.

Also Read | In Ajith’s loss, Baramati announces who will carry on Pawar’s legacy.

Apart from Baramati, the NCP lost in Sharur, where the undivided party had won in 2019, and Osmanabad. Moreover, Ajith had challenged incumbent Sherwar MP Amul Kulhe, who is supporting Sharad Pawar, to defeat him. Ajit Pawar did not lose this single seat to his uncle. Ahead of the elections, NCP MLA from Parner Nilesh Lanke decided to switch to NCP (Sharad Pawar) to contest from Ahmednagar Lok Sabha constituency. Lanke won the election against sitting BJP MP Sujay Vikhe Patil, son of BJP heavyweight Radhakrishnan Vikhe Patil.

Lancashire’s win has become a perfect example of Sharad Pawar taking advantage of his return. NCP insiders believe this could force other leaders to reassess their prospects ahead of state assembly elections due in the next few months. “The leaders chose Ajit Pawar. [Sharad] Pawar Sahib because he believed that he would get better prospects and opportunities. But when the election results show that his party is not doing well, he will reassess his decision and some may think of jumping ship,” said a senior NCP leader. said

Another NCP leader said the election results may force other MLAs and candidates to consider whether they can win against Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) candidates, who won 30 of the state’s 48 Lok Sabha seats. “The MVA candidates got the support of the people, and [Narendra] Modi factor not working in Maharashtra is a cause of concern for leaders of all three ruling parties.

Also Read | Sharad Pawar’s back where he belongs, in central Maharashtra

NCP leaders were also unhappy with the way Ajit Pawar bowed to the BJP leadership when the ruling parties were deciding on the seat distribution formula for the Lok Sabha elections. An NCP MLA said, “This has made people think that if they decide the seat-sharing formula and again hand over the assembly seats to the BJP or the Shiv Sena, So his political career will end.”

NCP heavyweight Chhagan Bhujbal raised the issue at a recent meeting held to review the party’s performance and planning for the state assembly elections. He spoke openly about how the NCP got fewer seats to contest in the Lok Sabha elections and how its tussle with the BJP over seat allocation led to a delay in the announcement of candidates. He also asked the party leadership to ensure that this does not happen before the assembly elections.

Bhujbal said in the meeting, “We need to get a fair share to fight the assembly elections as an ally.” We were promised 80-90 seats. [by the BJP leadership] And the same needs to be cleared by them beforehand so that the conflict does not happen again. If we contest elections on 80-90 seats then only we will be able to win 50-60 seats. Ajit Pawar then assured that the talks would take place much earlier this time.

Ajit Pawar avoided public appearances on Tuesday after losing badly in the Lok Sabha elections. He held a meeting with party spokespersons at his residence in Mumbai, where he briefed them on what to say to the media. Late on Tuesday evening, the party issued a statement on his behalf: “No failure is final. Undaunted by failure, let us all rededicate ourselves to public service with renewed vigour, passion and hope.” The NCP and Mahawati will analyze the results and the alliance workers will prepare for the upcoming state assembly elections.

Ajit Pawar also called for a meeting with all NCP MLAs to review the party’s performance and plan for the upcoming state assembly elections. The meeting will be held on Thursday in a five-star hotel in the city.



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