In a massive political development on Sunday, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar broke ranks with NCP’s official position and asserted that the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Population Register would not take away anyone’s citizenship. He was addressing a one-day function of NCP workers in Mumbai. He contended that it was unnecessary to pass a resolution against the CAA and the NPR in the Maharashtra Assembly, disagreeing with the unanimous resolution passed in the Bihar Assembly. Maintaining that some people were spreading “false information” about CAA and NPR, he called for more awareness on this issue.
Ajit Pawar’s stance seems to echo Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray’s assertion that nobody needed to worry about the CAA and NPR. Addressing a press conference after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he observed that the CAA was a legislation to give citizenship to persecuted minorities in neighbouring countries. Maintaining that NPR was a regular exercise like the Census, Thackeray also showcased his trust for the Home Ministry’s answer in the Lok Sabha that a nationwide NRC would not be implemented.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, the uncle of Ajit Pawar has vehemently criticised the CAA, NPR, and NRC. When asked about Uddhav Thackeray’s stance, he recalled that NCP had voted against the CAA in the Parliament. Moreover, Pawar revealed that his party would try to convince Uddhav Thackeray on changing his stance. Subsequently, senior Congress leader and Maharashtra Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat made it clear that his party remained steadfast in its opposition to the CAA, NPR, and the NRC.
“That is his (Uddhav Thackeray's) view and it is his right to have his own view. As far as NCP is concerned, we have voted against this act in the Parliament as well. Now, in this coalition government, we cannot promise that everyone will agree to the same thing. However, we will try to talk to them and convince them about the issue,” Sharad Pawar remarked.
Despite being a senior leader of NCP, Ajit Pawar has been known for his occasional divergence from the party line. For instance, he justified the decision to form the government with Devendra Fadnavis on November 23, 2019, citing the fact that the three parties- NCP, Shiv Sena, and Congress would not be able to form a stable government. However, he returned back to the NCP fold and became a part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Recently, he refused to outrightly blame the Centre for transferring the Bhima Koregaon- Elgar Parishad cases to the NIA. While he maintained both the state and the Centre should operate within their domain, he also acknowledged that the latter had the right to examine a situation where something untoward was taking place. Interestingly, he also commented that the police personnel were trying their best in the Bhima Koregoan-Elgar Parishad cases, contradicting his uncle who had alleged political pressure in the police probe.