Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday met well-wishers in his hometown Baramati at an annual event on the occasion of Diwali Padwa, but his nephew and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was conspicuous by his absence.
Every year, the Pawar family celebrates Diwali Padwa, which is the fourth day of Diwali, at their residence Govindbaug, located in Baramati town of Pune district.
Thousands of people from across the state, including NCP workers and leaders, travel to Baramati to greet Sharad Pawar.
This year also, a huge crowd gathered at Sharad Pawar’s residence to greet the 82-year-old leader. His daughter and NCP Lok Sabha member Surpiya Sule was also present at the event.
Asked if Ajit Pawar will attend the event and meet his uncle, Ms Sule told reporters, “Ajit dada is suffering from dengue and taking rest on the advice of doctors for the past 21 days.”
She also said that Rohit Pawar, NCP MLA and Sharad Pawar’s grandnephew, was in Beed for his Yuva Sangharsh Yatra.
Notably, Ajit Pawar met Sharad Pawar here on November 10, prompting speculation in state political circles. Ms Sule had then said the meeting was not a political one.
“Though we have different political ideologies, we maintain our personal relations. There is a difference between professional and personal life,” she had said.
It was the second such meeting between the uncle and nephew after the Ajit Pawar-led group joined the Eknath Shinde-led government in Maharashtra in July.
NCP leader Ankush Kakde, who belongs to the Ajit Pawar group, had said on November 10 that doctors have advised the deputy chief minister, who recently suffered from dengue, complete rest, and asked him to stay away from big gatherings to avoid infection.
The same day, Ajit Pawar had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.
Ajit Pawar has staked claim over the name and symbol of the Nationalist Congress Party, which was founded by Sharad Pawar.
The Sharad Pawar-led group has informed the Election Commission that the Ajit Pawar-led faction has submitted over 20,000 fraudulent affidavits to the poll panel to stake claim over the party, as per sources.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)