National

Sharad Pawar moves to soften Opposition blow

Sharad Pawar is working behind the scenes to counter the Opposition reaction.  

Even as the Congress kept up its tirade against the government over External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj facilitating travel papers for cricket administrator Lalit Modi for the second day running, she found some consideration from unexpected quarters with Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar apparently stepping in to soften the Opposition blow.

Sources said the former International Cricket Council president, who is billed as Mr. Lalit Modi’s patron in cricket politics, has been working behind the scenes to counter the Opposition reaction to the controversy. The NCP is learnt to have reached out to most parties in the Opposition but the Congress has refused to tone down its response.

Compared with the Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal , Samajwadi Party and the NCP were soft on Ms. Swaraj and maintained that demanding her resignation at this juncture without a probe was out of order. “It is our considered view.’’ Also, they are keen to exploit the resultant rumblings within the BJP against the “PM-Jaitley-Shah troika’’ that controls the party and the government.

She is seen as one of the few thorns in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s side, particularly in the Cabinet.

With the socialist parties, the task was made easier by the personal rapport that many of the leaders share with Ms. Swaraj and her husband Swaraj Kaushal, who as a lawyer had represented them in their cases during the Emergency. “We were all part of the JP movement along with Ms. Swaraj and her husband. Many of us have great sympathy for Ms. Swaraj,’’ said a party leader.

‘The first blot’

RJD chief Lalu Prasad told a television channel that conflicts within the BJP and the government were no secret and indicated that the Prime Minister may be using this case to get rid of Ms. Swaraj. Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) had on Sunday itself taken the position that a mountain was being made out of a mole hill.

Refusing to buy the allegation that Ms. Swaraj had helped Mr. Lalit Modi secure travel papers as payback for his help in securing admission for her nephew in a British university, NCP’s D. P. Tripathi said: “It is clear she committed an impropriety by writing to the British authorities for allowing Mr. Lalit Modi to travel but demanding her resignation at this point is not correct. In 40 years of public life, she has not done anything wrong. This is the first blot on her.’’


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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 2:05:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lalit-modi-visa-row-sharad-pawar-moves-to-soften-opposition-blow/article7319039.ece

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