Supriya Sule ready to meet rival MLAs to discuss a ‘homecoming’

Ms. Sule’s statement comes shortly after the party’s State chief, Jayant Patil claimed that 10–15 MLAs are in contact with their supremo and former Union Minister, Sharad Pawar

Updated - June 12, 2024 06:42 am IST

Published - June 12, 2024 03:40 am IST - Mumbai

NCP-SCP MP from Baramati Supriya Sule speaks to the media after winning the Lok Sabha polls, in Pune.

NCP-SCP MP from Baramati Supriya Sule speaks to the media after winning the Lok Sabha polls, in Pune. | Photo Credit: ANI

NCP (SP) working president and Baramati MP-elect Supriya Sule said on June 11 that she is open to meeting leaders from her cousin Ajit Pawar’s faction of the NCP who might be considering switching sides after their party’s poor performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

Ms. Sule’s statement comes shortly after the party’s State chief, Jayant Patil claimed that 10–15 MLAs are in contact with their supremo and former Union Minister, Sharad Pawar.

When the NCP split in July last year, 41 MLAs sided with Mr. Ajit Pawar, while 11 supported his uncle Mr. Sharad Pawar. If the defection of legislators materialises, both factions of the NCP, which celebrated its 25th foundation day on Monday, would have nearly equal numbers of MLAs before the Assembly polls in October.

40 want to defect

A similar prediction about potential crossovers was made by the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, Vijay Wadettiwar, on Monday. He suggested that members of the ruling Mahayuti are in touch with their original party leaders to arrange a ‘ghar vapsi’ (homecoming), believing that the MVA coalition of Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT), and NCP (SP) will win the Assembly polls. The Congress leader said about 40 legislators are in touch.

“If they (MLAs) want to come to see me at my home or office over a cup of tea, everybody is welcome. But on certain issues, we will have to take the entire cadre and team into confidence, and it will be a unanimous decision,” Ms. Sule said.

“It is an internal issue of the NCP, which will be discussed within the four walls of the party. We will have to take everybody’s views; no single person will take that decision. We will have to respect all our cadres and workers who have fought during this extraordinarily challenging time,” she added, but stopped short of confirming if any communication has been established or the total number of MLAs willing to switch sides.

In the 18th Lok Sabha elections, Ajit Pawar’s NCP contested four seats and won only one — Sunil Tatkare from Raigad. Mr. Ajit Pawar’s wife, Sunetra Pawar, lost a closely contested race for Baramati. Sharad Pawar’s NCP fielded 10 candidates and won 8 seats: Supriya Sule (Baramati), Dhairyasheel Mohite-Patil (Madha), Amol Kolhe (Shirur), Nilesh Lanke (Ahmednagar), Amar Kale (Wardha), Bajrang Sonawane (Beed), Suresh Mhatre (Bhiwandi), and Bhaskar Bhagare (Dindori).

In the fight for the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, 17 Mahayuti candidates, 30 MVA, and one independent were elected. The independent candidate from Sangli, Vishal Patil, grandson of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vasantdada Patil, is a primary member of the Congress and has already extended his support to the party, thereby taking the MVA’s tally to 31 MPs.

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