Sixty-six-year-old Praful Patel has emerged as a master strategist. In the recent unexpected political developments in the state, Patel, a trusted colleague of Sharad Pawar, played a crucial role following which rebel NCP leader Ajit Pawar was installed as the state deputy chief minister and eight other veteran NCP leaders close to Sharad Pawar joined the ruling government.
In November 2019, Ajit Pawar had joined hands with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis. While Fadnavis was installed as chief minister, Ajit Pawar took over as deputy CM. But it was a failed attempt of revolt since against 42 legislators, only three joined Ajit Pawar, who had since been making all possible efforts to engineer a split in the NCP so that he isn’t required to form a new party and get into lengthy legal formalities with the Election Commission of India. Ajit Pawar gradually realised he was not alone.

A major setback for Sharad Pawar: Trusted aide Praful Patel joins Ajit Pawar faction

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A major setback for Sharad Pawar: Trusted aide Praful Patel joins Ajit Pawar faction

Several senior NCP leaders led by Praful Patel supported his idea to declare a new group as the real NCP with Ajit Pawar as its chief. Patel immediately swung into action and mobilised the support of a requisite number of legislators. As Patel had been in politics in New Delhi for several decades, he knew the tricks of the game. Instead of negotiating with state leaders, he sorted it out directly with BJP top brass. All along, it was felt that state BJP leaders may not agree to part with finance, planning, cooperation, revenue, and excise, but it was a smooth transaction. Except revenue and excise, there was no dispute over sharing of portfolios.
When foe turns friend:
Former BJP Lok Sabha member Kirit Somaiya is left red-faced following the induction of NCP leader Hasan Mushrif as minister for medical education and special assistance in the Shinde-Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar government. Somaiya had on September 21, 2021, lodged a complaint against Mushrif under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Mushrif was then a rural development minister in the MVA government. Somaiya had alleged that Mushrif was involved in the Rs 100 crore corruption in Appasaheb Nalawade sugar factory in Kolhapur through a private firm directly linked to Mushrif’s relatives. Mushrif has already described the allegations as baseless.Somaiya had, in fact, personally visited Kolhapur to lodge a complaint with the police as well as the Enforcement Directorate. Alarmed by the possibility of his arrest, Mushrif moved the high court, which granted him interim protection till August 12. Mushrif is now part of the current three-party government. Mushrif is not alone, there are several NCP politicians who were under ED, CBI and income tax department lens and have now switched loyalty to the BJP.

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