Meeting with Modi touched upon issues of national interest: Sharad Pawar
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar appeared to downplay the speculation around his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, stating that they held discussions “on various issues of national interest”, including the Banking Amendments Act and the cooperative sector.
The meeting, held against the backdrop of talks of fissures among Maharashtra’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies and the Enforcement Directorate’s action against NCP leaders Anil Deshmukh and Eknath Khadse created buzz in the political circles. Pawar had earlier in the week also met senior BJP leaders and Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Rajnath Singh.
“Met the Hon’ble Prime Minister of our country Narendra Modi. Had a discussion on various issues of national interest,” Pawar said in a tweet.
The 80-year-old former Maharashtra chief minister also tweeted a letter he wrote to the PM about the amendment to the Banking Act.
“I reiterated in the letter that the aims and objectives of the amended Act are well-intentioned and many provisions are necessary… but at the same time it should be ensured that while doing so, the cooperative principles laid down in the Constitution are not sacrificed at the altar of over-zealous regulation,” Pawar said.
The letter comes days after the Centre formed a new ministry of cooperation under home minister Amit Shah.
NCP national spokesperson and state minister Nawab Malik said there were no political implications of Pawar’s meetings with BJP leaders. He said the MVA partners knew about the meeting and “even CM Uddhav Thackeray was apprised of this meeting [with PM]”. “Pawar’s meeting [with Modi] took place as per the pre-determined appointment. Piyush Goyal had called on Pawar saheb as a courtesy call after his appointment as leader of the house. Defence minister Rajnath Singh had convened a meeting at his office with two former defence ministers Sharad Pawar and AK Antony yesterday…The speculation has no substance,” Malik said.
Political analyst Hemant Desai, however, said that it would be wrong to assume that the meeting had no political implications. “NCP has been ambiguous on many fronts and has never taken a strong stand against the BJP and Modi. BJP is any way in the search of new allies ahead of the 2024 elections, so it would be wrong to say there was nothing political in this meeting,” he said.