Pawar visit has Cong thinking
The Sunday meeting between Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and NCP president and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has worsened his now-uncertain ties with the Congress, reports HT Correspondent.delhi Updated: Feb 09, 2010 01:28 IST
The Sunday meeting between Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and NCP president and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has worsened his now-uncertain ties with the Congress.
For, no one knows what actually transpired between the two old friends. All India Congress Committee secretary in charge of Maharashtra Mohan Prakash told Hindustan Times: “Pawar knows whom and when to meet. Woh khud jaane ya khuda jaane (He knows or god knows).”
Pawar, who also heads the BCCI, reportedly got a firm assurance from Thackeray that the Sena would allow the Australians to play the IPL matches.
But political observers see the meeting as Pawar’s move to expose, among other things, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s failure to restrain the Sena.
On Pawar’s meeting with the Sena chief, Chavan, who has been called to Delhi by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, said: “We can deal with them (the Sena) with the law of the land. We have an elected government that enforces law very effectively.”
Congress sources, however, said on condition of anonymity that it was the high command that asked Chavan to talk hard.
The Congress stepped up its attacks on Pawar on Monday, blaming him again for the rising prices of essential commodities. At Friday’s Congress Working Committee meeting also, he was accused of talking up prices.
Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said on Monday: “Food inflation falls squarely in the mandate of Agriculture, Food Distribution and Consumer Affairs ministries.”
Tewari refused to buy Pawar’s argument that controlling prices was a collective responsibility of the government. “It’s a collective and differentiated responsibility,” he said, indicating that checking food inflation was the agriculture minister’s job.
With the price rise row yet to die down, Pawar again rankled the Congress by meeting Thackeray, as it came amid a war of words between Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Sena leaders over “Mumbai for all Indians” campaign.
Last Friday, Gandhi visited Mumbai and travelled by local trains, defying the Sena’s threats.