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  India   Politics  29 Jun 2023  Pawar Admits Offering NCP Support in 2019 to ‘Expose BJP Leaders’

Pawar Admits Offering NCP Support in 2019 to ‘Expose BJP Leaders’

THE ASIAN AGE. | PRASAD PATIL
Published : Jun 30, 2023, 12:00 am IST
Updated : Jun 30, 2023, 12:00 am IST

BJP’s leaders in Maharashtra cannot live without power

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said that he never intended to support the BJP-led government. “When I had backed out, why did Mr. Fadnavis go ahead with the swearing-in? In cricketing terms, he exposed his stumps completely and we got his wicket,” (File Image: PTI)
 Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said that he never intended to support the BJP-led government. “When I had backed out, why did Mr. Fadnavis go ahead with the swearing-in? In cricketing terms, he exposed his stumps completely and we got his wicket,” (File Image: PTI)

Mumbai: After denying his involvement in the 2019 power-sharing talks with the BJP for nearly four years, Sharad Pawar on Thursday admitted that he had held talks with the BJP to form a government in Maharashtra. However, the NCP chief justified his move by saying he only wanted to prove that BJP could not leave without power.

The Nationalist Congress Party chief was responding to Devendra Fadnavis’s claim that he and Ajit Pawar attempted to form the government only because Sharad Pawar had agreed to it. Mr. Fadnavis has claimed that the NCP chief backed off at the last moment and left his nephew Ajit Pawar in the lurch.

When asked about Mr Fadnavis’s claim, Mr Pawar said, “BJP’s leaders in Maharashtra cannot live without power and that needed to be brought before the people. I achieved that successfully.”

In an interview given to a television channel, Mr. Fadnavis said that Sharad Pawar had held a series of meetings to discuss government formation in Maharashtra. “When Uddhavji (Thackeray) stopped taking our calls after the election results, we realised that he was not coming to us because he was after the CM’s chair. At that time, some NCP people told us that NCP wanted to come with us and form a stable government. I want to underline this; we had a meeting with Sharad Pawar where it was decided that BJP and the NCP would form the government. Ajit Pawar and I were given complete power to take things forward and accordingly we started making preparations. But suddenly, three-four days before we took oath (Mr Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar took oath as the CM and DCM on November 23, 2019), Sharad Pawar completely withdrew from the process. After that Ajit Pawar was left with no choice but to come with me. Otherwise he would have been completely exposed.”

The BJP leader also claimed that Ajit Pawar went ahead with the swearing in because he believed that he had his uncle’s backing. “We thought that since so many meetings have been held with Sharad Pawar, everyone else including the NCP president would eventually join us. But that did not happen,” he said.

However, the NCP chief said that he never intended to support the BJP-led government. “When I had backed out, why did Mr. Fadnavis go ahead with the swearing-in? In cricketing terms, he exposed his stumps completely and we got his wicket,” Sharad Pawar said.

Interestingly, this was the first time that the NCP chief has admitted to holding discussions with the BJP regarding government formation. Even in his autobiography ‘Lok Maze Sangati’, which was published last month, Sharad Pawar has said that there were informal talks between NCP and BJP leaders after the 2019 assembly polls in Maharashtra, but he was not involved in the process. “The BJP started exploring whether there could be any possibility of an alliance with the NCP, but I was not involved in the process. This was only BJP's desire and there were no formal talks with the BJP. But there were informal talks between select leaders from the two parties,” he has written in his autobiography.

In his book, the NCP leader has also claimed that he even made it clear to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that there could be no political pact between the BJP and NCP. Referring to his meeting with the PM on November 20, 2019, the NCP chief wrote, “I met Mr. Modi and told him very clearly that there could be no political deal between us. But while I was saying this, it has to be noted that there was a section of leaders in the party who wanted ties with the BJP.”

Interestingly, only eight days after the meeting mentioned in his book by Sharad Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar took as the deputy chief minister with Mr. Fadnavis as the CM.

Tags: ncp chief sharad pawar, devendra fadnavis, maharashtra news, ajit pawar