Union agriculture minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar's readiness to approach Congress president Sonia Gandhi against the National Sports Development Bill - which he expressed in Tuesday's cabinet meeting - entailed an "implicit threat" to the alliance between the two parties.
Sources familiar with the deliberations in the cabinet said although Pawar did not state it explicitly, his expressions did adequately make the point that he "was willing to part ways if push comes to shove."
Pawar, one of the key cricket administrators in the country, is seeing the Bill as a direct affront to his turf. The Bill proposes to bring the BCCI under the RTI Act, and open its accounts to public scrutiny, besides an age-bar of 70 years for office-bearers of such bodies.
Following tough opposition from Pawar, the original move to send the Bill to a GoM was abandoned. It was then returned to the sports ministry for re-drafting.
Some participants in the discussion in the cabinet meeting were also skeptical about the feasibility of the legislation, given that some leaders from opposition parties, too, are involved in sports bodies.
Pawar's positioning is reminiscent of the UPA-1 era, when policy proposals of the government reached Gandhi's doorsteps before a final decision could be taken. Also, there has been no formal forum for allies to seek Gandhi's intervention in any government decision. Hence, Pawar's threat may escalate tension.