The Congress’ estranged ally, the Nationalist Congress Party, which offered unsolicited and unconditional outside support to the Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra to form a government in the state, has lavished generous praise on Narendra Modi-led NDA government saying that it is making “sincere efforts” to reach out to people.
“The government appears to be sincere and intent on achieving a lot of things. One should give it more time and only then judge its performance,” said NCP chief Mr. Pawar, speaking in Baramati on Saturday.
The offer of unconditional support to the BJP in Maharashtra even as the results were trickling in >was criticised by his political opponents as a move to save alleged corrupt leaders of his party during the ten year Congress-NCP rule in the state. It was also interpreted as an attempt to isolate the Shiv Sena and block its chances of returning to the BJP fold.
The merits of these arguments apart, Mr. Pawar has been cautious since the formation of the NDA government at the centre. For instance he refused to join ranks with the UPA constituents in blocking initiatives of the NDA in the Rajya Sabha where the Modi government does not have numbers.
Mr. Pawar especially appreciated the Prime Minister’s gesture of celebrating Diwali with the flood-hit people of Jammu and Kashmir and reaching out to soldiers guarding the frontier at the Siachen glacier.
However, Mr. Pawar's praise has not gone well with at least one of the smaller allies of the BJP in the state. Rashtriya Samaj Paksha leader Mahadev Jankar, whose party has allied with the BJP, has said that comments of Mr. Pawar on the Prime Minister are opportunist.
“Sharad Pawar is notorious for his opportunist politics. Our party’s aim has been to topple the Pawars in Maharashtra’s sugar belt. We hope the BJP does not take the NCP’s support,” said Mr. Jankar, whose party secured only one seat in the recently concluded Assembly elections.
He remarked that Mr. Pawar’s move to offer the support of his 41 MLAs to the BJP smacked of “a desperate gamble to preserve his political existence”.