Maharashtra's Ajit Pawar is first 'beneficiary' of FDI

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Ajit Pawar and Sarad Pawar
New Delhi, Dec 7: What returns Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati will get on their investment in FDI vote may be revealed soon. But what Sharad Pawar received was evident in the form of Ajit Pawar. He is back as deputy chief minister of Maharashtra.

The NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) has been airing reservations on FDI in the retail sector by invoking farmers interest. Even on Wednesday, a meeting was held under the leadership of Ajit Pawar in Mumbai on the issue.

Last week, when the government white paper on irrigation cleared Ajit Pawar, there was no talk of him returning to the cabinet immediately. However, the delicate voting in Lok Sabha and a close call in Rajya Sabha seems to have forced the Congress hands and paved way to express induction of Ajit Pawar.

The NCP had submitted a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan expressing reservations on FDI implementation in the state, Chavan said discussions had been held before sending state government approval.

"We wrote to the Central government after consultation with the NCP leadership. They have now expressed reservations. We will call a meeting of the co-ordination committee," said Chavan.

On Friday, the NCP seems to have softened the stand. NCP spokesman Nawab Malik reiterated the stand that the party supports FDI but clauses suggested by the cabinet should be introduced while implementing FDI in the state.

Chavan may also be bit worried about NCP mischief during assembly session. The opposition has threatened to bring no confidence motion and Chavan cannot keep his ruling alliance partners sulking.

The allegations against Ajit Pawar, 53, were that he had arbitrarily awarded irrigation contracts worth over Rs 20,000 crore when he was State's Irrigation Minister during 1999-2009.

Meanwhile, Opposition BJP and Shiv Sena on Thursday reacted sharply to the re-induction of Ajit Pawar and demanded that he face a probe by a Special Investigation Team. They also boycotted the swearing in ceremony on Friday morning.

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