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Said ‘no’ to Modi, got Sonia & Uddhav together: Sharad Pawar | India News


MUMBAI: Dwelling on the controversies surrounding government formation in Maharashtra, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said on Monday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed a desire to “work together”, but that he had declined the offer.
Pawar said he met the PM on November 20 to discuss the farm crisis in the state. “I had taken the PM’s appointment on November 20. I had taken up the cause of farmers affected by unseasonal rains… after our discussion was over, he called me back saying ‘I will be happy if we work together’. I rejected the offer, saying ‘our personal relations are excellent and in future too they will be excellent, but politically it is not convenient for me’,” Pawar added.
In an interview to Marathi channel ABP Majha, Pawar spoke on talks held with Shiv Sena and Congress to forge a coalition, the banner of revolt raised by nephew Ajit Pawar and his discussions with Uddhav Thackeray to persuade him to accept the CM’s post.
Pawar’s meeting with Modi had taken place at a juncture when negotiations to form a non-BJP government were apparently in the final stages. His meeting with the PM raised speculation that he would switch sides, specially given the fact that he had offered BJP support in 2014 to form a government in Maharashtra. Some Congressmen had expressed displeasure over his meeting with Modi.
Speaking about his nephew’s overnight offer of support to the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP band of MLAs, he said it had caught him off guard. Pawar said he was stunned and surprised on hearing the news from a senior NCP member on November 23. “Ajit had told me Fadnavis had expressed a desire to talk to him, and I permitted him to meet Fadnavis. So Fadnavis made him an offer to form the government with NCP. And Ajit, who had the signatures of all the legislators, agreed on condition that a government would be formed immediately without delay,” he added.
Subsequently, he said, Ajit recanted and expressed remorse, saying he was prepared to face any punishment in the interest of the party.
On Thackeray’s reluctance to assume the CM’s post, he said the Sena chief made it clear at the outset that he was not keen to become CM. “He was not keen…despite the fact that it was a strong desire of Balasaheb Thackeray that a Sena activist become CM. I convinced Uddhav it would be a stable government only if he becomes CM. Ultimately, he accepted,” Pawar said.
Pawar said it would be wrong to say he would “remote-control” the government. “Uddhav will head the government, he comes with the rich experience of BMC. I am sure he will not interfere in day-to-day affairs of government,” he said. He also said it took a long time for him to convince Sonia Gandhi on the need to join hands with Sena to keep BJP out of office. “I told her that Bal Thackeray had supported Indira Gandhi during Emergency and in several polls in the state,’’ he said.

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