Ajit Pawar, the leader of the Nationalist Congress Party and the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, first sparked rumours about his alliance with the BJP by skipping Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s events in Mumbai. Now, he has further stirred up political commotion in Maharashtra by declaring publicly that he is unsure of how long he will be in charge of the state finance department.
At a programme in Baramati, Pune, Mr. Pawar said, “Today, I am in charge of the Finance Department, but I can’t guarantee that it will still be operational tomorrow.”
Speaking at a programme about cooperatives, Ajit Pawar also emphasised the need for the institutions in the industry, including sugar mills, to develop their financial stability.
He had previously denied rumours that he had skipped Amit Shah’s programmes in Mumbai the day before, claiming that he had told Mr. Shah’s office in advance about his prior commitments.
In order to see Lord Ganesh, Amit Shah had visited the homes of Chief Minister Ekanth Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Two of the three parties in the alliance government—Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) and BJP—are opposed to the idea, so Mr. Pawar’s recent declaration that he will discuss 5% Muslim reservation in educational institutions with Mr. Shinde and Mr. Fadnavis is also likely to cause discomfort.
Ajit Pawar led a coup against his uncle and party leader Sharad Pawar earlier this year, joining the Shiv Sena-BJP administration in Maharashtra as deputy chief minister, and was rewarded with control of the state’s coffers. To advance to the position of deputy chief minister in the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition’s first year in power, he engineered a vertical split in the NCP.