MUMBAI: Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Saturday said Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar and his daughter and Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule should join the Union Cabinet of Prime mInister Narendra Modi and help strengthen the country and the Bharatiya Janata Party government with their experience and knowledge.
Sharad Pawar may have been informed by the BJP and told to keep quiet and let things continue as per the wishes of the people of the state and country, Athawale said.
"Now, I call upon Sharad Pawar and Supriya Sule to join the cabinet Pawar Saheb can be given some crucial portfolio and with his vast knowledge and experience, can contribute to strengthen the government and the country," Athawale said.
His statement came just hours after Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar was appointed Deputy to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP in what is being termed as an early morning coup, as Shiv Sena and Congress were left baffled after an announcement on Friday night that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will be the next Chief Minister.
"This is a big setback and a lesson for the Shiv Sena which was not willing to form government with the BJP... Even I am surprised at the speed at which the BJP government with NCP took office today, but I was anticipating it," Athawale told media persons.
Earlier on Saturday, Pawar termed the move by the NCP Group Leader in Maharashtra Legislature Ajit Pawar to form a government with the BJP as "his personal decision and not of the NCP".
"We place on record that we do not support or endorse this decision of his," Sharad Pawar said, indicating a vertical split in the NCP, though the complete details are yet to emerge.
Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and Pawar will discuss the issues and address a press conference on Saturday afternoon on the events leading to a change in the state political landscape.