Amid speculations on political stability in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar on Monday evening.
The two leaders held a meeting for about one-and-a-half hours, said Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday while asserting that the state government is “strong”.
The Sena Rajya Sabha MP, however, did not reveal what transpired between the two leaders.
The meeting between Thackeray and Pawar took place after the NCP chief met state Governor BS Koshyari on Monday morning.
“NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had a meeting for one-and-a-half hours. Those doubting about the stability of this government are doing so out of their own grudge. This government is strong,” Raut tweeted in Marathi.
Amid the ongoing row between the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre and the Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi government over the issue of migrants’ trains and the COVID-19 pandemic, hectic politicking started in the state on Monday, sparking off speculation.
Tongues started wagging as NCP President Sharad Pawar went to meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan, in what was described by both sides as a “courtesy call”.
Accompanied by NCP MP Praful Patel, this was Pawar’s first-ever meeting with the Governor who was appointed in September 2019, crowning a series of recent political developments in the state.
The timing of the meeting is significant as it took place against the backdrop of strained relations between the Shiv Sena, which heads the MVA government, and the Raj Bhavan.
Later in the afternoon, it was the turn of BJP leader and former Chief Minister Narayan Rane to meet the Governor and reportedly demand imposing President’s rule in the state.
Among various things, Rane has claimed the government headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had failed to handle the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in the state.
Rane’s demand came days after Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis called on Koshyari and complained that the Thackeray government had bungled in handling the coronavirus situation.
The Governor followed it up by a review meeting of the crisis in which Thackeray excused himself but sent his close confidante Milind Narvekar.
A couple of days later, Koshyari raised strong objections to a letter written by Minister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant to the UGC recommending cancellation of final year university examinations, which the Governor pointed out was against the guidelines.
This was followed by Sena MP Sanjay Raut calling on the Governor, and a day later, Thackeray announced that the lockdown implemented suddenly was not proper, and lifting it abruptly would be detrimental to the people.
Then, Uddhav Thackeray had commented on Sunday that though the state wanted 80 trains daily to send migrants home, the Railway Ministry was giving around 30-40.
Ostensibly taking umbrage at this, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday night gave a one-hour deadline to Thackeray to provide the list of all the migrants intending to travel and he would provide 125 trains for them.
This sparked off a huge verbal brawl between the BJP and the MVA allies Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress.
The state also witnessed another fracas with the Civil Aviation Ministry over its reluctance to permit domestic flights, but later relented and allowed 25 incoming and 25 outgoing services, from Monday.
Top political sources in the MVA late Monday night said despite the goings-on, there was no threat to the state government which was stable.
The NCP is one of the key constituents of MVA.
Pawar was one of the key leaders from Maharashtra who had openly complained about Koshyari’s “intervention” in the functioning of the state administration.