In a dramatic turn of events which followed months of speculation the Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar — who is also NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew — led a vertical split in his party and joined hands with the the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in Maharashtra and became the deputy chief minister on July 2, a move that could undermine party supremo Sharad Pawar and dent efforts for Opposition unity ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Ajit Pawar, a key player in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, recently decided to part ways with his party to join the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, which currently governs Maharashtra. In a surprising turn of events that followed months of speculation, Pawar not only split from his party but also secured the position of deputy chief minister on July 2. Traditionally, the Shiv Sena, BJP, and NCP have been distinct entities, each with their own unique political ideologies. While Shiv Sena and BJP are considered right-wing parties, the NCP is more centrist with a stronghold in Maharashtra’s rural regions. This unusual alliance could have far-reaching implications. For starters, it hints at a potential power struggle within the NCP, suggesting a significant internal division. It may also impact the standing of Sharad Pawar, a prominent figure in Maharashtra politics, within his own party. Moreover, this development could pose a threat to the unity of opposition parties preparing to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. A divided opposition could ultimately weaken their collective resistance. Lastly, Pawar’s entry into the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance could alter the balance of power within the ruling coalition, potentially strengthening it but also potentially causing tensions depending on how the new roles and responsibilities are allocated. The political landscape is unpredictable, however, and the ultimate impact of these events will only become clear with time.