Supporters of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders Ajit Pawar and Chhagan Bhujbal on Tuesday took possession of the party office in Nashik city, leading to a vociferous protest by the local Sharad Pawar loyalists.
Bhujbal, MLA from Yeola in Nashik district, on Sunday joined the BJP-Shiv Sena government in the state along with Ajit Pawar and seven other legislators, leading to a split in the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party.
Bhujbal’s supporters took over `Rashtrawadi Bhavan’, the NCP office in Mumbai Naka area, in the morning. In the afternoon, supporters of Sharad Pawar tried to enter the office and there was a face-off between the two factions.
Police, however, stopped the Sharad Pawar supporters including district NCP chief Kondaji Awhad, former city unit president Gajanan Shelar and others from entering the office.
“This is Rashtrawadi Pratishthan’s office. Bhujbal does not have anything to do with it. All are our leaders but Sharad Pawar has founded the NCP and it is his party. We will take possession of the office within a day,” Shelar said. Awhad claimed that he had the right to hold a meeting in the office as he is district NCP chief. Bhujbal supporter Dilip Khaire said they would not allow the other group to enter the office. He accused Awhad of attending the swearing-in ceremony on Sunday but changing the stand later. City NCP chief Ravindra Pagar said everybody was a Sharad Pawar supporter and he would attend a meeting called by Bhujbal. “Everyone should maintain peace,” he added. Sharad Pawar supporters also staged a sit-in outside the office before leaving the spot.
(With agency inputs)