THE Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) workers believe that Sunil Tatkare’s appointment as the party’s state president is a ploy by its chief Sharad Pawar to alienate his nephew Ajit in the party’s affairs. Pawar will make Tatkare, known as Ajit’s right hand, work against Ajit’s interests so that he could projects daughter Supriya Sule as the party’s generation next leader.
Tatkare, then Water Resources Minister, replaced Bhaskar Jadhav as the state president on Wednesday. The Madhav Chitale Committee appointed to investigate the irregularities in the irrigation projects had not found anything against him a week ago.
Contrary to the report, Ajit is not happy with Tatkare’s elevation, said a source in NCP. According to him, one of Ajit’s protégé in Pune has stopped answering his calls since a week even before Tatkare was tipped to become the state president.
“In a rare move, Pawar had extended support to Tatkare in his Raigad constituency during the Lok Sabha election. It is obvious that Pawar will expect a return gift from it. We assume that the return gift will be nothing but clipping dada’s (Ajit) wings,” the source said.
Ajit hoped that he will dominate in finalising the NCP’s candidates for Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) election to be held in October. However, Pawar will ensure that Tatkare chooses his nominees and not Ajit’s.
There is a thought in the party that the NCP must win more seats than Congress so that it would be in a position to claim for the post of Leader of Opposition in case the front is dethroned. “We wet get the Leader of Opposition’s post we will put all our efforts to grab the Chief Minister’s post in 2019. Saheb (Pawar) certainly wants to see Supriya in the CM’s chair not dada,” an NCP general secretary said.
The result of Lok Sabha election shows that Congress-NCP alliance was leading in only 43 out of 288 assembly segments in the state. The NCP was leading in 27 while Congress in 16. The data has given NCP a feeling that its chances of retaining power in the state were weak.
Tatkare said that he was thinking only of the party’s progress. “My priority will be to win the assembly election for the party. I will take everyone along with me,” he said.
Political analyst Hemant Desai said that Pawar has tried to alienate Tatkate from Ajit by giving him a big responsibility. “Pawar will create rift between Tatkare and Ajit and make Ajit live in isolation. We will soon see Tatkare going close to Pawar leaving Ajit in lurch,” Desai said.