Mumbai: NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s wife Pratibha Pawar played a crucial role in bringing Ajit Pawar back to the party fold. It was her persistent efforts, which forced the disgruntled leader to change his mind and resign from the post of deputy chief minister, sources said. Initially, after being sworn in as deputy CM on Saturday morning, Ajit had gone incommunicado. Later, several top leaders of the NCP tried their best to persuade him to return to the party, but he indicated that he would not budge.
However, on Tuesday, Ajit had a sudden change of heart and decided to step down. According to sources, he enjoys a close rapport with Pratibhatai, as she is known in the family and the party.
“He has tremendous respect for Pratibhatai. It was only because of her that he decided to resign,” said a source.
Ajit Pawar later visited Sharad Pawar’s Mumbai residence at 9.22 pm.
Pratibhatai met Ajit Pawar and persuaded him to change his mind. She was upset over the split in the family over politics and wanted to prevent matters from souring further. Hence, she took the initiative to end the row, said the source.
Pratibha is the daughter of late cricketer Sadu Shinde, but she has always preferred to remain behind the scenes.
According to sources, Pratibha was also instrumental in ensuring the NCP’s support for the Shiv Sena as well.
When senior leaders of the party were insisting that the NCP should go along with the BJP, it was Pratibha who persuaded Sharad Pawar to support the Sena in the government formation, citing the close bond between the Pawar and Thackeray family.
Meanwhile, with his resignation as the deputy chief minister, Ajit Pawar has cemented his image as an impulsive leader.
Within four days, he changed his mind and returned to the NCP. Earlier too, when he was in power, Ajit Pawar had resigned as deputy CM after making a controversial statement about the drought situation. After the ED initiated action against him, Sharad Pawar had turned the tables by announcing that he would himself visit the central agency for the inquiry. However, Ajit Pawar ruined his plan by tendering his resignation the same day. Later, he made a U-turn and said that he had resigned as the ED was trying to implicate his uncle.