Ajit Pawar said he had informed Shah's office about his pre-scheduled programmes.


Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday dismissed speculation about his absence from Union Home Minister Amit Shah's events in Mumbai on Saturday. Pawar said he had already informed Shah's office about his pre-scheduled programmes. Shah arrived at the residence of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to offer prayers to Lord Ganesha. He also visited the famous Lalbaugcha Raja pandal. Shah then delivered the Laxmanrao Inamdar Memorial Lecture at the University of Mumbai, where he spoke about the cooperative movement.

Speaking to reporters in Pimpri-Chinchwad, Asked about Shah's absence from his programmes, Pawar said, "I was in Baramati on Friday. I have allotted my time for Pimpri-Chinchwad, Pune and Baramati on Sunday, Monday and Friday respectively. The annual meeting of Baramati Bazar Samiti, Baramati Bank and Sahyog Housing Society was scheduled in Baramati on Friday. I had already informed Amit Shah's office about it," he said.

Asked about a banner projecting his nephew Rohit Pawar as the next chief minister, the deputy chief minister said such a campaign was a "daydream" until someone (288) secured the support of 145 of the <> MLAs.

Ajit Pawar led a rebellion in the NCP in July this year and joined the Shiv Sena-BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government along with his faction of MLAs.

The deputy chief minister refused to comment when asked about Praful Patel, who is currently part of the Ajit Pawar faction, posing for a photograph with NCP founder Sharad Pawar.

"The media always asks me about the pictures, but I don't want to comment on it. I have come here to answer questions related to development," he said.

Pawar also said the state government was positive about giving reservation to members of the Maratha and Dhangar communities.

"All efforts are being made to take decisions within the ambit of law and ensure that quotas of other communities are not affected," he said.

On the status of Pune Metro route extension, Pawar said the proposal for extension of The Pimpri to Nigdi Metro has already reached Delhi.

"Only one minister's signature (on the file) is awaited. When I go to Delhi, I will meet the concerned (minister) and get the work done. A new step will be taken towards fulfilling the dream of metro for the residents of the area from Nigdi to Katraj.

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