Patel appoints Tatkare as Maha NCP chief, names Ajit Pawar legislature party leader

Earlier, NCP president Sharad Pawar sacked Patel and Tatkare, both MPs who have sided with Ajit Pawar in his rebellion, from the party.

Mumbai: Soon after being removed as NCP working president, Praful Patel on Monday evening announced the appointment of Lok Sabha MP Sunil Tatkare as the party’s state unit chief, replacing Jayant Patil, and Maharashtra deputy CM Ajit Pawar as its legislature wing leader.

Earlier, NCP president Sharad Pawar sacked Patel and Tatkare, both MPs who have sided with Ajit Pawar in his rebellion, from the party.

The former Union agriculture minister, in a tweet, said, “I, as the National President, of Nationalist Congress Party hereby order the removal of the names of Shri Sunil Tatkare and Shri Praful Patel from the Register of Members of NCP Party for anti-party activities.”

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Patel, a Rajya Sabha MP who was named NCP working president last month, told a press conference here he had informed Patil to hand over the charge to Tatkare.

Patel said Ajit Pawar will be the NCP’s legislature party leader.

“Today (Monday) is Guru Purnima; we all wish that Sharad Pawar continues to bless us,” said Patel.

Patel said instead of asking them how many MLAs are in the Ajit Pawar camp, the question should be put to the other side (rival group).

He said Anil Patil, who was among the ministers who joined the Eknath Shinde-BJP government on Sunday, will continue to be NCP’s whip in the Maharashtra Assembly.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who was present at the press meet, said he enjoyed the support of “maximum” NCP legislators and said he has given a letter to the Assembly Speaker, seeking disqualification of party MLAs Jayant Patil and Jitendra Awhad (who belong to rival group) from the House.

“A majority of NCP MLAs are with us, that is why I became deputy CM. We have requested the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker to disqualify Jayant Patil and Jitendra Awhad,” he said.

Ajit Pawar said the party and MLAs were with him and the notice for disqualification against him and the eight newly sworn-in ministers was meaningless.

The deputy CM said he had the party with him and also its symbol (clock).

“Whatever we are doing is in the interest of the party. We will strengthen our party further, ” he said.

Asked who was the NCP’s national head, Ajit Pawar shot back, “The party national president is Sharad Pawar. Have you forgotten?”

He said the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly is appointed by the Speaker and not by a party functionary.

“Law will decide if we have rebelled. Only the Election Commission of India will decide to whom the party belongs,” said Ajit Pawar.

The ‘mahayuti’ government (led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde) in Maharashtra will work for welfare of the state and its people, he maintained.

The deputy CM said, “We have given ‘guru dakshina’ (tradition of thanks-giving and acknowledging role of guru/teacher in one’s life)” to the senior Pawar.

“We got the deputy chief minister’s post and we will work for welfare of the state,” said Ajit Pawar.

Speaking at the press conference, senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, who was among the ministers who took oath on Sunday, said,” Today is Guru Purnima and we seek blessings of our guru Pawar saheb.”

In other appointments announced by Patel, Rupali Chakankar has been named chief of the NCP’s state women’s wing, while MLC Amol Mitkari and Anand Paranjpe will be spokespersons. Suraj Chavan has been appointed the party’s youth wing president in Maharashtra.

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