The two factions had filed disqualification petitions against each other.
Former Union Minister Praful Patel, who is with the NCP group led by Ajit Pawar, on Wednesday took a dig at the meeting of opposition parties in Patna last month, saying he felt “like laughing” when he saw the scene where seven of 17 opposition parties present have only one MP in the Lok Sabha and there was a party which has no MP.
Patel, who was speaking at the meeting of NCP leaders called by the Ajit Pawar group at Mumbai Education Trust Bandra, said they have taken the decision of joining NDA in Maharashtra for the nation “and our party and not for personal gain”. The crisis in Nationalist Congress Party escalated on Wednesday with the two groups holding simultaneous meetings in a show of strength.
The NCP led by Sharad Pawar is holding a meeting of its members at YB Chavan Auditorium in Mumbai while Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar is at a meeting of NCP MPs, MLAs, MLCs, district heads and state delegates at Mumbai Education Trust (MET) Bandra.
Praul Patel took part in the meeting of opposition parties in Patna on June 23 with Sharad Pawar. The former union minister was a close aide of Sharad Pawar before he switched sides.
Praful Patel said questions were being raised on their joining hands and listed parties such as PDP and National Conference which had been with the BJP in the past.
“When we could accept the ideology of Shiv Sena, then what is the objection in going with BJP? We have joined this alliance as an independent entity. Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah went with BJP in Jammu and Kashmir and they are now part of the joint opposition,” he said.
He scoffed at opposition parties’ claim of bringing a change.
“I went to the joint opposition meeting in Patna with Sharad Pawar, and I felt like laughing when I saw the scene there. There were 17 opposition parties there, 7 of them have only one MP in the Lok Sabha and there is one party that has zero MPs. They claim they will bring change… This decision (of joining NDA) we have taken is for the nation and our party and not for personal gain,” he said.
The parallel meetings came after the two factions announced crucial appointments to assert their control over the party.
The NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar has taken affidavits from party workers to show their allegiance at MET Bandra.
Sharad Pawar loyalists raised slogans in his support at YB Chavan Centre.
The crisis in Nationalist Congress Party has been triggered by Ajit Pawar switching sides on Sunday and joining the Eknath Shinde-BJP government as Deputy Chief Minister. Eighth other NCP MLAs took oath on Sunday with Pawar as ministers.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by Sharad Pawar has moved a disqualification petition against the nine MLAs to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar.
Apart from Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal, Dilip Patil, Hasan Mushrif, Dhananjay Mundo, Dharmaraobaba Atram, Aditi Tatkare, Sanjay Bansode and Anil Patil joined Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis Maharashtra government as ministers on Sunday.
Sharad Pawar has removed Praful Patel and Sunil Tatkare from the party for “anti-party activities”.
“Your actions of supporting Ajit Pawar and the eight other MLAs, who have sworn oath as Ministers in violation of the party’s direction and mandate, ex-facie amount to anti-party activities and that you deemed to have voluntarily left the membership of Nationalist Congress Party,” Pawar said in a communication which was also sent to the two party MPs.
“I formally remove your names from the Membership Register of the Party in view of your actions of voluntarily giving up membership of the Nationalist Congress Party,” it said.
The communication said the action of MPs, “in a surreptitious manner, without the knowledge or consent of the party president, amounts to the desertion of the party, which in turn invites disqualification from primary membership”.
Praful Patel, a Rajya Sabha MP, has been a close associate of Pawar and was appointed working president of NCP last month. He was a minister in the Congress-led UPA government along with Pawar. Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule had written to him for action against the two MPs.