Ajit Pawar says Cong-NCP meet off; Pawar clarifies

Mumbai: A scheduled joint committee meeting of Congress and NCP leaders to work out details of Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for formation of government in Maharashtra with support of the Shiv Sena was cancelled, a visibly upset Ajit Pawar said on Wednesday night, triggering speculations.

However, NCP chief Sharad Pawar later told reporters that his nephew Ajit deliberately made remarks about visiting Baramati, his hometown in Pune district, in night to avoid media.

As Ajit's remarks were lapped up by a section of media, a senior Congress leader and NCP chief spokesperson confirmed that the meeting was going on.

Earlier, Ajit told reporters present outside the Pawar senior's residence here that meeting stands cancelled.

"I don't know when it will take place," the former deputy chief minister said while refusing to answer queries from media persons.

"I am heading to Baramati," Ajit said when asked about the reason behind cancellation of the meeting.

Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil was accompanying Ajit in his vehicle.

Upset over coverage of the incident by a section of media, Sharad Pawar later said he would not meet reporters again if they continue evading "privacy" of political leaders.

"Ajit Pawar is very much in Mumbai...he will meet you tomorrow. Your (media) vehicles start following him if he says anything jokingly. This evades privacy. Hence, he (Ajit) did it (statement on visiting Baramati) deliberately...If you want to distort things, don't come here (Pawar's residence) tomorrow onwards," he said.

NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said the meeting is very much on. He also appealed against spreading rumours.

After initial confusion, the NCP and the Congress circulated photos which showed Ajit attending the meeting.

Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said the meeting is on.

"A meeting of Congress Party senior leaders is going on. All other news aired by electronic media are baseless," Chavan tweeted.

Ajit, Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal, Malik and Dhananjay Munde are representing the NCP in the joint committee.

Senior Congress leaders attended the meeting.

Since Wednesday morning, the Congress and NCP leaders have been holding hectic parleys to work out a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for government formation, a day after President's Rule was imposed in the state.

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