An NCP politician said that Ajit Pawar had gone incommunicado in the morning hours, sparking speculation that he might boycott Uddhav Thackeray’s swearing-in as chief minister because he was not nominated his deputy. Later in the day, Pawar made it known that he was not angry over the constitution of the cabinet and that he was merely not taking oath that day.
“It’s a fact that originally it was proposed to induct Ajit as DCM (deputy chief minister). However, later it was felt that he should be inducted during the cabinet expansion. We do not think that he is upset over the decision,” the NCP politician said.
The NCP politician said that after Pawar’s three-day stint as deputy chief minister in the short-lived Devendra Fadnavis government, there was a question mark over his induction into the cabinet.
“It was unanimously decided that whatever may be the past, Ajit must be a part of the new cabinet. Though he was not inducted on Thursday, whenever the cabinet is expanded he will be inducted,” the NCP politician said.
The NCP politician said that if Pawar was inducted as the deputy chief minister he might not be given the important home portfolio, which would then go to Jayant Patil.
“Within NCP, there was a tussle over the post of DCM and home portfolio. A compromise formula was reached. If Ajit is made DCM, then he will not get home portfolio. Similarly, if Patil gets home portfolio, then he will not be appointed DCM,” the NCP politician said.
During deliberations all through the past week, NCP politicians often observed that in view of Pawar’s experience in administration his induction in the cabinet was essential.
The Congress will be represented by Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut, both past cabinet members, while Thackeray will lead the Shiv Sena. “We felt that only Ajit Pawar can take on these leaders, in view of his administrative skill. As a DCM in the past, Ajit Pawar was instrumental in taking key decisions on top priority,” the NCP politician said.
Thackeray’s lack of hands-on administrative experience is experience is expected to be an opportunity for Pawar to make his mark. “For NCP, Ajit Pawar is indispensable,” the NCP politician said.