Dy CM Ajit Pawar visits Siddhivinayak temple with party leaders

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Mumbai, Jul 9 (PTI) Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday offered prayers at the Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai along with NCP leaders including Praful Patel and Sunil Tatkare.

Pawar told reporters it was a good start to seek blessings of the deity to commence the campaign for the forthcoming state assembly elections, to strengthen the party and go to the people with the agenda of development.

A rally is being organised on July 14 at Baramati in Pune district where the Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) future course of action will be spelt out, he said.

The deputy CM was accompanied by his son Parth Pawar, NCP parliamentarians Sunil Tatkare and Praful Patel, MLAs Anil Patil, Dhananjay Munde, Dilip Walse Patil and other party legislators.

Pawar and his entourage travelled in a bus to the temple from the party office near Mantralaya (state secretariat).

Notably, the state legislative council elections for 11 seats are scheduled on July 12 and two NCP candidates are in fray.

Asked if all nine candidates of the ruling Mahayuti will get elected, Pawar said, "Efforts are on in that direction." The Mahayuti comprises the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, BJP and NCP.

A total of 12 candidates, including three from the opposition parties, are in the fray for the biennial polls to 11 seats in the legislative council.

The rival NCP (SP) has claimed many MLAs of the Ajit Pawar-led faction are in touch with it and will shift their allegiance back to the NCP founder Sharad Pawar after the state budget is passed.

In July last year, Ajit Pawar led a rebellion against his uncle Sharad Pawar, leading to a split in the NCP. PTI MR GK