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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 31, 2014
Union minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Friday denied media reports that he met Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi saying they are "completely mischievous, baseless and false". The reports of Pawar's meeting with Modi has caused tremors in the political corridors with the development being seen as a "trailer" of new political equations on national level in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

"News of my meeting with Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Jan 17 appeared in a news paper is completely mischchievous, baseless & false [sic]" he posted on Twitter.

This comes at a time when there are speculations of a growing discomfort in the Congress-NCP alliance at the Centre.

The meeting between the two political heavyweights reportedly took place on on January 17 in Delhi. In the meeting, which lasted for more than an hour, the duo reportedly discussed forging a new alliance.

The reports have appeared after senior NCP leader and Union minister Praful Patel's statements in favour of Modi on Wednesday saying that the 2002 Gujarat riots issue be laid to rest.

"The fact is that we are in an era where we believe that judicial course is what gives a final decision. It is not good to question something that has been closed by the judiciary. Politics is about perception. Perception today is important and if the judiciary has given its verdict on a controversy, then we should let it rest there," he had said.

The development has not gone down well within the grand alliance of five parties led by BJP.

Raju Shetti of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, which recently joined the alliance, had made it clear that the BJP and Shiv Sena should maintain a safe distance from NCP.