A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) initiated a money-laundering probe against Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar and others in the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB) loan irregularities, Baramati — the bastion of the Pawar clan — observed a total shutdown in support of the NCP supremo.Educational institutions, business establishments and shops downed shutters in Baramati and neighbouring Indapur tehsil, while protests organised by the NCP youth wing were staged in Pune, Mumbai, Nashik and other parts of the State including the Marathwada region, especially Beed and Aurangabad districts.Large crowds, including schoolgoing children, were seen throughout Baramati raising slogans in Mr. Pawar’s support, while angry demonstrations by NCP activists were witnessed accompanied by burning of effigies of the ED.Speaking in Mumbai, former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said no irregularities of even a single paisa had occurred at MSCB.“After an FIR was lodged against me and others on the direction of the Bombay High Court and the economic offences wing (EOW) of the police was probing the case, a certain individual filed a PIL claiming a scam of ₹ 25,000 crore had taken place…moreover, Sharad Pawar has no relation whatsoever with this case and neither was he ever a director of this bank. To the best of my knowledge, the total deposits of the bank were ₹13,000 crore. So, how could irregularities of ₹25,000 crore have transpired?” he asked.He said that MSCB directors were from a number of political parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Shiv Sena and the Congress, and not just the NCP. “Had there been irregularities of this magnitude [₹25,000 crore], the bank would not have been showing a profit of ₹300 crore today,” Mr. Ajit Pawar said.Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar’s grand nephew, Rohit Pawar, hit out at the BJP saying the allegations were clearly politically motivated. “The ED’s probe only illustrates that the BJP has no real issue to talk about. Since it has failed to deliver on its tall promises, it is now attempting to divert public attention by indulging in such undignified moves and misusing probe agencies,” said Mr. Rohit Pawar.Sandhya Sonawane, head of NCP’s youth wing in Ahmednagar, said the response generated by Mr. Pawar’s pre-poll tours across the State had rattled the BJP.“As a result, the ruling government is resorting to such base tactics by unleashing the ED on Pawar saaheb. However, the public will give the BJP a fitting reply in the forthcoming elections,” she said.