The reaction of the two alliance partners of NCP came on media reports that a former Congress chief minister of Maharashtra had claimed that during their secret meeting at the residence of a develop in Pune on August 12, Ajit Pawar offered the post of Union agriculture minister or Niti Aayog chairperson in return for extending support to the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
Reacting to the reports, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, “How can I comment on secret meetings?… I think a few things should be left to the leaders. There is an alliance and I feel there is no need to make snide remarks all the time.”
SS (UBT) MP and spokesperson claimed that Sharad Pawar will not join hands with the BJP in his lifetime.
Talking to media persons, Raut said, “I don’t think Sharad Pawar will join hands with the BJP till the time he lives. He is rebuilding his party.”
Asked whether Ajit Pawar gave any offer to Sharad Pawar during the meeting, Raut said, “When did Ajit Pawar become so big to give an offer to Sharad Pawar.”
“It is Sharad Pawar who made Ajit Pawar. Sharad Pawar has been the chief minister of the state for four terms and served as the Union minister multiple times,” Raut added.
His remarks came days after an editorial in the Shiv Sena (UBT) mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said the frequent meetings between Sharad Pawar and his nephew were tarnishing the image of the NCP founder.
After the meeting in Pune last month, Sharad Pawar and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar brushed it off saying it was not a secret meeting, amid overtures from the rebel NCP camp led by Ajit Pawar to senior Pawar to give them his blessings.
Speaking in his hometown Baramati on Tuesday, Sharad Pawar said some people in the party have taken a different path, but “once they realize the situation, their stand may change.”
“Whether they change their stand or not, we will not deviate from the path we have chosen,” he told a gathering.
“I have told Maharashtra (voters) to vote for someone. And now, I can not tell them to vote for someone whom we have opposed all along,” Pawar senior added.
Be that as it may, both the Congress and SS (UBT) have indicated that it is wrong for Sharad Pawar to meet his nephew, who has joined hands with BJP and become deputy CM in the Shinde-Fadnavis government, at a time the Maha Vikas Aghadi has embarked on a “mission” against BJP.
(With agency inputs)