The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has filed a disqualification petition against Ajit Pawar and eight other people who defected from the party and joined the Shinde-Fadnavis government, according to party leader Jayant Patil on Sunday.
Patil said the disqualification petition has been sent to Speaker Rahul Narvekar during a press conference late on Sunday, as per a report. The rank and file of the NCP are with party leader Sharad Pawar, according to an email filed to the Election Commission of India, Patil continued.
Ajit Pawar, the head of the NCP, joined the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government on Sunday. As his allies Chhagan Bhujbal, Hasan Mushrif, and others were sworn in as cabinet ministers, Pawar took the oath of office as Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister.
After being named the party’s top whip, Jitendra Awhad on Monday went to the residence of Maharashtra Governor Ramesh Bais for his appointment letter. Awhad, a three-term MLA from Mumbra, is tight with NCP leader Sharad Pawar, who entered politics after becoming active as a student against rising college tuition prices in 1982.
The 59-year-old politician began his career with the Congress party and, according to a report, held roles like Chief Secretary and General Secretary of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), the Congress party’s student wing, in 1991.
Awhad sided with Sharad Pawar after he left the Congress, and his devotion to the senior Pawar gained him a nomination as a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council for two terms in a row, in 2002 and 2008.
The NCP leader won his first election in 2009’s assembly elections from the predominantly Muslim Mumbra-Kalwa constituency, defeating a Shiv Sena candidate by a margin of more than 15,000 votes. According to the report, he won the seat once more in 2014 and 2019.
In 2014, he also briefly held the position of Cabinet Minister for Medical Education & Horticulture. Awhad served as the state’s housing minister during the Maha Vikas Aghadi administration in 2019.
Awhad became involved in a dispute in 2020 after he and about 15 other people are accused of assaulting a Thane-based civil engineer for sharing his modified image. After an FIR was filed against him, Awhad was taken into custody but was later released on bail.
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