Even as controversy rages over the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, NCP chief Sharad Pawar spoke on the subject for the first time, extending full support to Mumbai Police, who are currently investigating. ‘’I have full faith in the Mumbai Police. There is no need for a CBI probe but if someone thinks that CBI or any other agency should probe the matter then I won't oppose it."
At the same time, Pawar publicly reprimanded his grandnephew and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s son Parth, who had echoed the demand of the BJP, the state's opposition party, for a CBI probe. "We don't give any importance to what Parth says. He is immature,’’ he said.
Parth Pawar declined comment. Late on Wednesday evening, the NCP chief met his nephew and DCM Ajit Pawar and the party's state president and Minister of Water Resources Jayant Patil to discuss a range of issues.
However, an NCP minister close to the party chief, told The Free Press Journal, ‘‘Pawar has killed two birds with one stone. He has once and for all, sent a strong signal to Parth not to cross the party line or chart his own path. On the other hand, Pawar has also sent a message to his nephew and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who returned to the party fold after his flopped rebellion and 72 hours of association with the BJP, not to play spoilsport but direct his skills towards the stability of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.’’ He further said, this comes at a time when the BJP was issuing new deadlines for the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government with 12 NCP legislators prepared to defect.
Pawar’s move to reprimand Parth comes days after the latter recently hogged the headlines with his letter welcoming the ground-breaking ceremony for the Ram temple at Ayodhya on August 5, terming it a ‘‘historic day’’. He had further observed that the launch of the temple construction was a “reinstallation of the Hindu faith” and the end of a long, bitter battle. Parth had lost last year’s Lok Sabha election from Maval in Maharashtra. Since then, he has not been very active in party politics, barring a few appearances at some functions.
Incidentally, Parth’s statement had not gone down well in the NCP as his aunt and party MP Supriya Sule said it was his personal view. NCP spokesman and Minister of Minority Affairs Nawab Malik struggled to downplay Parth’s statement, saying there were no differences within the party.
Pawar was reportedly disappointed, as he was the first to take a swipe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the timing of the groundbreaking function, which came in the midst of the country grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. Parth's statement had brought cheer to the BJP, which is busy stepping up its attacks against the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, trying to expose the divisions among its ruling partners.
Interestingly, Pawar had not been in favour of fielding Parth in the Lok Sabha polls. However, to avoid a rift in the family, he had agreed to Parth being given a ticket. After his humiliating defeat, Parth was reported to be sulking at the rise of his cousin and Pawar's other grandnephew Rohit Pawar, who got elected from the Karjat-Jamkhed assembly seat, defeating former BJP minister Ram Shinde. Rohit has been quite active in taking up development issues and airing his views on political developments.
Meanwhile, Pawar hailed the state police."I have known the Maharashtra Police and Mumbai Police for 50 years. Have full faith in them. I don't want to go into the allegations. This is not such an important issue." He rubbished the speculation about state minister Aaditya Thackeray's involvement. "I don't know with what intention the Thackerays are being dragged in this," he opined.
The NCP chief, who also met Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, further said that he had recently been to Satara, where a farmer had expressed surprise to him over discussions in the media about Rajput’s death. “The farmer said he felt surprised at the way it (Rajput’s death) is being discussed in the media. “He (the farmer) said 20 farmers committed suicide in Satara, but it was not even noted by media. So, I know what the sentiment of the common people is.”