- Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar's nephew, is likely to take oath on December 30
- The decision on Ajit Pawar was more or less expected
- The development comes after his dramatic betrayal last month
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar is set to pull off a remarkable comeback by returning as deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra after his dramatic betrayal last month, before the Uddhav Thackeray government came to power.
Ajit Pawar, the nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, is likely to take oath on December 30, this time as part of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government. Over a month ago, the 60-year-old had been sworn in along with the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis in a surprise early morning ceremony. That arrangement lasted only 80 hours as Ajit Pawar failed to bring in more NCP MLAs to sustain the coup. He resigned and returned to the NCP fold.
The decision on Ajit Pawar, which was more or less expected, was finalized reportedly in discussions between Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar last evening. The Congress was reportedly not present but kept in the loop about the decision.
When Ajit Pawar attended Uddhav Thackeray's oath ceremony on November 28 but was not sworn in, his uncle called it a "conscious decision".
Ajit Pawar, aka "Ajit Dada", has in the past served as deputy chief minister for two short-lived terms when the Congress-NCP was in power before 2014.
Sharad Pawar had indicated that despite the brief mutiny, his nephew would not be deprived of a cabinet spot too long. In fact, he had virtually blamed the Congress for driving Ajit Pawar into the arms of the BJP with its demands during alliance talks.
Asked whether Ajit Pawar would get back deputy chief ministership, Pawar senior had told NDTV: "It has to be discussed with colleagues. But sizeable members of the party have full respect for him, even if they are unhappy about him going to the BJP."
The Sena-NCP-Congress coalition or Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government came to power after weeks of negotiations and talks between the ideologically mismatched parties who came up with a common minimum agenda.