Sharad Pawar appointed two new NCP working presidents
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said his decision to appoint two working presidents of the party was to ensure the NCP's leadership team has enough hands to look after the party's affairs across the country.
"The situation in the country is such that it would have been wrong to give the responsibility of all states to only one person," Mr Pawar told reporters today, after appointing Praful Patel and Supriya Sule as NCP working presidents.
Asked if the decision to appoint Mr Patel and Ms Sule would go down well with his nephew Ajit Pawar, the NCP chief said his nephew already handles a lot of responsibilities.
Ajit Pawar is also the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly. He is known to show rebellious streaks.
Sharad Pawar made the announcement at an event to celebrate the 24th founding anniversary of the NCP.
Ajit Pawar joined hands with the BJP in 2019 and took oath as Deputy Chief Minister in an early morning oath-taking ceremony with Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister.
Today, Ajit Pawar appeared visibly upset with the announcement and left the party office in Mumbai without talking to reporters.
Mr Patel, who seemed surprised by the announcement, said he will continue to work hard for the party.
"I have been working alongside Pawar saheb since 1999. So, this is nothing new for me. Of course, I am happy at being elevated as working president. I will continue to work to increase the footprint of the party," Mr Patel said.
Pawar also made Mr Patel the NCP's in-charge of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Goa, and Rajya Sabha.
Ms Sule will be in charge of NCP affairs in Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, and issues related to women, youth, students and Lok Sabha.
"I am grateful to NCP President Pawar saheb and all the senior leaders, party colleagues, party workers and well-wishers of NCP for bestowing this huge responsibility of working president along with Praful Patel bhai," Ms Sule tweeted.
With Ms Sule in-charge of Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar has effectively made Ajit Pawar report to her on party matters, a move that could lead to unease in the NCP.
Sharad Pawar formed the NCP in June 1999 along with Tariq Anwar and PA Sangma after they were removed from the Congress for raising an issue related to Sonia Gandhi, the then Congress president.