Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said on Monday (December 2) that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed working together but he rejected the offer.
Pawar said he made it clear to Modi that it won’t be possible for him to work together with the PM. “Modi had offered me to work together. I told him that our personal relations are very good and they will remain that way but it is not possible for me to work together,” Pawar said in an interview to a Marathi TV channel on Monday.
Pawar dismissed reports that Modi government offered to make him India’s President. “But there was an offer to make Supriya (Sule) a minister in the Modi-led cabinet,” he added. Supriya Sule is Pawar’s daughter and a Lok Sabha member from Baramati in Pune district.
Pawar had met Modi in Delhi last month amid dramatic developments over government formation in Maharashtra. Modi has always praised Pawar and made it a point not to launch a vicious attack against him during the state election campaign.
Modi’s latest praise for Pawar came last month when he was speaking on the occasion of 250th session of the Rajya Sabha. Modi said other parties, including the BJP, should learn from the NCP on how to adhere to parliamentary norms.
In 2016, when Modi visited the Vasantdada Sugar Institute in Pune on an invitation from Pawar, he had praised the NCP chief as an example to others in public life. “I have personal respect for Pawar. I was the Gujarat chief minister that time. He helped me walk by holding my finger. I feel proud to pronounce this publicly,” Modi had said.
Pawar also said not swearing in Ajit Pawar when Uddhav Thackeray took oath as CM on November 28 was a “conscious decision,” prompted by the NCP leader’s sudden support to Devendra Fadnavis, who became CM only to quit three day later after Ajit Pawar resigned as deputy CM.
Thackeray took over as chief minister over a month after Assembly poll results were declared on October 24. “When I came to know about Ajit’s support (to Fadnavis), the first person I contacted was Thackeray. I told him what happened was not right and gave him confidence that I will crush this (Ajit’s rebellion). When all in NCP came to know my support was not there for Ajit’s action, those five-ten (MLAs) who were with him, there was pressure on them,” Pawar said.
The NCP chief said he is not aware if anyone in the (Pawar) family spoke (to Ajit Pawar to make him rethink his decision to back Fadnavis). “But all in the family felt what Ajit did was wrong. I later told him what he did was unpardonable. That anybody (doing so) will have to bear the consequences and you are no exception. At the same time there is a big section (in NCP) which has faith in him… He gets things done,” Pawar said.
(With inputs from agencies)