Why NCP wants to win back Ajit Pawar if he has no support?

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI:

The NCP is busy trying keep its flock together in Mumbai with MLAs hopping between hotels while party supremo Sharad Pawar is sending his top aides to bring back his rebel nephew Ajit Pawar from the BJP's fold but the exercise has proved futile till now.

"The party is apprehensive of Ajit Pawar's loyal MLAs who could double-cross the party on the floor of the house," a party leader said on condition of anonymity. The NCP knows the strength of Ajit Pawar who has committed followers within the party, and the midnight coup could not have happened if he doesn't have the consent of his supporting MLAs.

There have been five attempts to lure him back with the party sending different emissaries at different times. On Monday, the party had sent Chaggan Bhujbal and state President Jayant Patil to win him back but so far Ajit Pawar has refused to budge on any condition. Before this on Saturday, two such attempts were made with Dilip Walse Patil and Hasan Mushrif meeting Ajit Pawar. On Sunday also, Jayant Patil had called on Ajit Pawar twice at his home to win him over, ahead of the crucial vote of confidence.

Simultaneously, members of the Pawar clan - including Sharad Pawar's grand-nephew and newly-elected legislator Rohit R. Pawar, Sharad Pawar's daughter and MP Supriya Sule-Pawar, have also issued appeals on social media, extending an olive branch to Ajit Pawar.

Rohit Pawar even went to the extent of pleading that in this critical time, "the family and party must remain united" and stand solidly behind Sharad Pawar.

Breaking his silence on Sunday, Ajit Pawar claimed he was still with the NCP, had the support of 54 MLAs, and Sharad Pawar remained his leader.

Sharad Pawar had hit back denying his nephew's claims and asserted that the NCP is now allied with the Shiv Sena and the Congress as part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi.