MUMBAI: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is trying to retain its stronghold on Maharashtra’s cooperative sector by announcing impromptu support to the BJP to form government in the state. The NCP is the uncrowned leader of the state’s financially and politically influential cooperative sector, which includes sugar, textile and milk industries.
The party believes that it might lose control of the cooperative sector if it does not have cordial relations with the ruling party.
The Centre as well as the state government has tremendous powers to influence the sugar, textile and milk industries.
“These industries need to be in touch with the Union and state governments almost on a daily basis. (Sharad) Pawar saheb is keen on holding the party’s fort in these sectors by making some adjustments with the ruling party, the BJP,” a senior NCP leader said.
There was speculation that the NCP chief had extended support to the BJP to bury the pending inquiry against his nephew Ajit in connection with the `26,000-crore irrigation scam.
According to the leader, Pawar is not at all worried about the inquiry. “He has faced many such inquiries in his political life spanning over 45 years. His real worry is the party’s relevance in the cooperative sector. If we lose control on the sector, we will be weakened like never before,” he said. Interestingly, senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse did not rule out the NCP leader’s logic. “Pawar is a visionary leader who does not open up. We come to know about his political strategy much later,” he said. A section in the BJP believes that the NCP would have split if Pawar had not extended support to it.
A big group of NCP legislators is not happy with Ajit for his autocratic style of functioning. Khadse echoed the view. “The legislators get upset and confused if the government formation gets delayed. We are not in a hurry to form the government as President’s rule had already been imposed on the state. We will wait and make our moves at an appropriate time,” he said.