Less than 24 hours into the rebellion, some Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders who were seen with Ajit Pawar returned to the Sharad Pawar camp even as many legislators have begun interacting with workers in respective constituencies before making their stand public on June 5 when both the camps of the party have called a meeting.
Among those who returned to the Sharad Pawar camp was Amol Kolhe, a Member of Parliament (MP) from Shirur in Pune district. Earlier on Sunday, Kolhe was seen at the swearing-in ceremony of Ajit Pawar as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra.
On Monday, he released a video to indicate switching the side. When asked why he chose to be back with Sharad Pawar, the Shirur MP said morality prompted him to take the decision.
“When there is conflict between the mind and the soul, listen to the soul. Perhaps the mind sometimes forgets the morality but the soul never,” the actor-turned-politician said in a post on social media.
When asked if any other leaders are also considering returning to Sharad Pawar, Kolhe said, “I do not know about others and can speak for myself.”
Like Amol, another NCP leader and party legislator from Wai in Satara district Makarand Patil was in Mumbai when Ajit Pawar took the oath. On Monday, Makarand joined the Sharad Pawar camp at Karad and remained with him throughout the day.
NCP state unit president Jayant Patil said, “Except the nine who took oath during the swearing-in as minister, all the rest are with Sharad Pawar.”
Another MLA from western Maharashtra on condition of anonymity said that ideologically he and many others are with Sharad Pawar but before taking any stand they will need to take the ground sense and consider future prospects as assembly elections are just a year and a half away.
“We have returned to our constituencies and started interaction with workers and supporters. We will also take feedback from voters and then take a final decision for the July 5 meeting,” he said.
Both Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar camps have called separate meeting in Mumbai on Wednesday in which the party’s MLAs, MPs, office-bearers and other leaders have been invited.
According to Jayant, the meeting of Sharad Pawar camp has been organised at Yashwantrao Chavan Auditorium while Ajit Pawar’s supporters will gather at the Mumbai Education Trust at Bandra in Mumbai run by Chhagan Bhujbal.
Pune NCP city unit president Prashant Jagtap said, “We respect Ajit Pawar, but maximum party cadre is of the view to stay with Sharad Pawar in this hour of crisis. We all are with Sharad Pawar and our priority is to strengthen the party in the coming days.”