Disquiet in Opposition over Sharad Pawar sharing stage with PM Modi

Flagging the event, members expressed concern that it will be bad optics for INDIA coalition at a time when it is taking the government head-on in Parliament

July 28, 2023 08:49 pm | Updated July 29, 2023 06:40 am IST - New Delhi:

NCP MP Sharad Pawar at the Parliament during Monsoon session, in New Delhi. File

NCP MP Sharad Pawar at the Parliament during Monsoon session, in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: PTI

At a meeting of INDIA constituents in Parliament on Friday, many leaders flagged NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar’s scheduled event in Pune on August 1 where he will share the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They expressed concern that it will be bad optics for the coalition at a time when they are locked in a head-on battle with the government demanding a statement from Mr. Modi on Manipur violence.

Mr. Modi is slated to be conferred the Lokmanya Tilak National Award in Pune which is organised by the Lokmanya Tilak Smarak Mandir Trust. Mr. Pawar will be the chief guest at the ceremony.

Also read: Undeterred by crisis, Sharad Pawar vows to rebuild party

Informed sources said that one of the leaders from a regional party broached the issue first and it led to a lot of disquiet with members expressing disappointment. Many others suggested that Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge or any other leader should speak to Mr. Pawar to dissuade him from participating in the event. NCP‘s Rajya Sabha member Vandana Chavan was the only representative from the party at the meeting, who did not comment on the issue.

It is learnt that a top leader commented, “We can awaken those who are sleeping but can we awaken those who are pretending to sleep?”

Delhi services Bill

Not only Manipur, Aam Aadmi Party leaders pointed out that the Delhi services Bill, which is slotted for Monday in the Lok Sabha, could be moved in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday and for the Opposition to defeat the Bill, it needs to have 100% attendance. They said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal would urge Mr. Pawar to skip the award function to remain in Delhi for the vote on the legislation. The Opposition has decided to suspend its protest to debate the Delhi services Bill. In the Rajya Sabha, three Opposition MPs who are ill, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, JMM leader Shibu Soren and JD(U) leader Bashistha Narain Singh, would be present. The Opposition though is still short of three members — with suspended MPs Congress’s Rajni Patil and AAP’s Sanjay Singh. The third member is NCP MP Praful Patel, who recently switched sides.

Meanwhile, as the Opposition awaits the no-confidence motion that the Congress moved in the Lok Sabha to which Mr. Modi is expected to reply, the Trinamool Congress is likely to move a resolution on the subject in the West Bengal Assembly. It will be the first Opposition-ruled State to do so.

The idea was mooted for the other Opposition parties to take a similar step too, but at least in three Congress-ruled States — Karnataka, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — the Assembly session ended just recently. For both Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, it was the last Assembly session before the State goes for polls.

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