National

Pawar knew of Ajit-Fadnavis discussions

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar during the grand photo opportunity of 162 MLAs at Hotel Hyatt in Mumbai on November 25, 2019.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar during the grand photo opportunity of 162 MLAs at Hotel Hyatt in Mumbai on November 25, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Aadesh Choudhary

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Sharad Pawar had on Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed “working together” but he rejected the offer.

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said he was aware that party leader Ajit Pawar was in touch with Devendra Fadnavis even as he distanced himself from his nephew’s sudden political move to join hands with the BJP on November 23.

Mr. Sharad Pawar had on Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed “working together” but he rejected the offer.

“I knew Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were in talks, but the speculation that I was aware of Ajit’s political move is wrong,” he told NDTV in an interview.

Mr. Pawar, however, appeared softening his stand vis-a-vis Ajit, saying the latter was unhappy over pace of discussions with Congress leaders for government formation and the “tussle” for sharing power.

The former Union minister also said that he had never thought of aligning with the Sena, which wears Hindutva on sleeve.

“We knew that serious differences cropped between the two pre-poll alliance partners (Shiv Sena and BJP after the Maharashtra poll results on October 24) and an understanding was not honoured. Sena was unhappy and we were watching the developments,” he said.

Mr. Pawar, however, didn’t clarify on which “understanding” he was referring to.

Sena president Uddhav Thackeray had accused Mr. Fadnavis and BJP of not honouring the “promise” made to his party on sharing the chief minister’s post in new government.

“There were no talks with the Sena before elections. We were fighting against the Sena and the BJP” he said.

Mr. Pawar said he didn’t expect Mr. Ajit to act like the way he did.

“But there is a backgroundto this development. There was a heated discussion between myself and Congress leaders from Delhi at the Nehru Centre on certain issues. For a moment, I thought I would notassociate with this discussion and that I should not be involved in talks. Ajit was unhappy too and spoke to my colleagues on how we are going to work...There was a tussle over power sharing,” he said.

On Mr. Ajit’s likely induction into Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, Mr. Pawar said the NCP would take a call after conclusion of upcoming winter session of the state legislature.

To a query, he said, “the MVA government will last for the entire five years. There is no tussle over portfolios,” he added.

Mr. Pawar said the state government will run as per the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) and not on any ideology.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 4:53:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pawar-knew-of-ajit-fadnavis-discussions/article30153126.ece

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