The man behind the Maha Vikas Aghadi and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed “working together”, but he rejected the offer. Pawar said he made it clear to PM Modi that it won’t be possible for him to work together.
“Modi offered we work together. I told him that our personal relations are very good and they will remain that way but it is not possible for me to work together,” Pawar said in an interview to a Marathi TV channel on Monday.
Pawar denied that the Modi government offered to make him President of India. “But there was an offer to make Supriya (Sule) a minister in the Modi-led cabinet,” he added.
Supriya Sule is Pawar’s daughter and Member of Parliament (MP Lok Sabha) from Baramati in Pune district. Pawar had met with PM Modi in Delhi last month amid developments over government formation in Maharashtra.
PM Modi had praised Pawar last month in Parliament while speaking on the 250th session of the Rajya Sabha, where he said some parties, including the BJP, should learn from the NCP on how to adhere to parliamentary norms.
In 2016, when PM Modi visited Vasantdada Sugar Institute in Pune on an invitation from Pawar, he had praised the NCP chief as an example to 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,” PM Modi had said.
On question of Ajit Pawar, Senior Pawar said not swearing in Ajit Pawar when Uddhav Thackeray took oath as Chief Minister on November 28 was a “conscious decision”, prompted by the NCP leader’s sudden support to BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis, who became Chief Minister, only to quit three day later after Ajit Pawar resigned as his deputy.
Thackeray took over as Chief Minister over a month after assembly poll results were declared on October 24.
“When I came to know about Ajit’s support (to Fadnavis), the first person I contacted was Thackeray. I told him what happened was not right and gave him confidence that I will crush this (Ajit’s rebellion),” Mr Pawar said.
“When all in NCP came to know my support was not there for Ajit’s action, those 5-10 (MLAs) who were with him, there was pressure on them,” he said.
The one month long political drama which took place in Maharashtra soon after the announcement of the Assembly poll results, popped up many twists and turns in the course of the journey, which saw long term allies BJP and Shiv Sena parting ways on the question of equal partnership in the government and 2.5 years each rotational Chief Ministership for each party. The Sena formed alliance with NCP and Congress and was finalizing the modalities of the new government, which suddenly saw a midnight coup by Devendra Fadnavis becoming CM with the help of Ajit Pawar from NCP, helping him and becoming his deputy with the promise of 54 NCP MLAs. But with Supreme Court asking for a an open ballot floor test within 24 hours to prove the majority, Fadnavis and his deputy Ajit Pawar resigned within 80 hours. This made way for the new Maha Vikas Aghadi government, with Uddhav Thackeray as the Chief Minister and much credit is given to Shard Pawar to stitch together this unlikely alliance.