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Pawar-Modi bonhomie baffles BJP leaders; worries Congress, Shiv Sena

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on December 05, 2019 Published on December 05, 2019

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar

Congress and Shiv Sena leaders believe the NCP leader is warning his alliance partners in Maharashtra — if they want to stay in power, they will have to keep his party happy

NCP President Sharad Pawar’s revelation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed that they work together and form the government in Maharashtra has baffled State BJP leaders and has worried Congress and Shiv Sena satraps.

Even before the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) — as the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition is known — settles down and start work, Pawar, in an interview with a Marathi news channel, recently said that Modi had proposed “working together” but that he had rejected the offer. In essence, Pawar was saying that Modi wanted an NCP- BJP alliance in Maharashtra to form the government.

Pawar denied that Modi offered him the post of President of India, but added: “There surely was an offer to make Supriya (Sule) a Minister in the Modi cabinet.” Supriya, Pawar’s daughter, is the MP from Baramati. Pawar had met Modi in Parliament on November 20 amidst hectic political developments in Maharashtra.

After the BJP and Shiv Sena decided to snap ties over the power sharing formula, Sharad Pawar took the lead to create a new alliance between the NCP-Congress and the Shiv Sena, keeping the BJP out of the power.

Pawar’s revelation has not gone down well with State BJP leaders, who view him as the main hurdle in the BJP bouncing back to the power in Maharashtra. A senior BJP leader said that Modi might not have given any offer to Pawar, while a section of BJP leaders believe that Pawar has given a clear indication that he would not hesitate to share power with the BJP in future.

Congress and Shiv Sena leaders say that Pawar has made the statement to give a warning to both alliance partners in Maharashtra. If the Congress and Shiv Sena want to continue in power, they will have to fall in line. The BJP won 105 seats in the October 2019 elections, followed by the Shiv Sena (56), NCP (54) and Congress (44).

Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana has praised Sharad Pawar for refusing to ‘bow’ to the BJP’s offer. The editorial in Saamana claimed that the BJP had decided to snap ties with the Sena to keep the party away from power, but Pawar remained firm and supported the Sena.

The Pawar-Modi bonhomie is not new. “At a personal level, I respect him (Pawar) as he has contributed to public life...” Modi told BJP workers in Maharashtra earlier this year.

In 2016, when Modi visited Pune, he praised the NCP President as an “example” for others in public life. “I have personal respect for Pawar. I was the Gujarat Chief Minister that time. He helped me walk by holding my finger. I feel proud to pronounce this publicly,” he had stated.

Published on December 05, 2019
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