MUMBAI: NCP Chief Sharad Pawar on Monday revealed that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had made an offer that both the parties should work together in Maharashtra.
While speaking to Marathi News Channel ‘ABP Majha’ Pawar unfolded the complete political drama in Maharashtra over the past month.
“I had requested the PMO for a meeting, but it wasn’t working out. I got the time at the last moment. I realized that the PMO might want to create confusion. But, I had just returned from Vidarbha where the farmers had suffered lot due to unseasonal rains and wanted to meet him. So, I went ahead with the meeting. We discussed the farmers’ issues and at the end PM Modi made the proposal. It would be better if we could work together in Maharashtra, he suggested. He wanted the BJP and NCP to come together in Maharashtra. However, I plainly refused the proposal,” Pawar said when asked to explain the mystery behind his meeting with PM Modi.
Pawar dismissed reports that Modi government offered to make him India's President.
"But there surely 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 last month amid the dramatic developments over government formation in Maharashtra.
“NCP cadre is not prepared to go with the BJP. Our ideologies too are completely different. Hence, I told Modi that coming together won’t be possible. I, however, assured him that on the issues of national interest we shall be with him, we won’t oppose for the sake of it,” Pawar added while revealing reasons behind declining the proposal.
Pawar also revealed that his nephew and party leader Ajit’s rebellion came as a complete shocker for him, but he soon realized that there were not too many people behind him and could contain the damage.
"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)," Pawar said.
"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," he 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," he said.
"I later told him what he did was unpardonable. That anybody (doing so) will have to bear the consequences and you are no exception," he said.
"At the same time there is a big section (in NCP) which has 'asthaa' (faith) in him. He gets things done," Pawar said.
“To make people believe that it was done without my consent was the biggest challenge. I called up Uddhav Thackeray and we addressed a joint press conference. It changed the atmosphere quickly,” Pawar said.
“We also wanted to send out a message that breaking party discipline won’t be tolerated even if it is from the family. That is the reason why Ajit was denied the chance to take oath at the grand ceremony. He will be inducted in the second expansion,” Pawar added.
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.
(With PTI Inputs)