Maharashtra: Sharad Pawar not known for speaking truth, says BJP

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A day after NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the BJP was eager to tie up with his party after the 2019 Maharashtra elections but he told PM Narendra Modi that he was not in favour of such an alliance, state BJP president Chandrakant Patil on Thursday asked why Pawar took so long to break his silence about the meeting with Modi.

“Pawar revealed that Modi made an offer for a BJP-NCP alliance. If this were true, would Pawar — known for pragmatic politics — ever turn down such an opportunity?” Patil asked.

“It is no secret that Pawar is not known for speaking truth,” Patil said, responding to media question on Pawar’s remarks about meeting the PM.
Patil said, “There is huge unrest among the coalition parties. They are not getting along with each other. It has set them in a race for who will walk out of the government first and form the government with the BJP.”

He added, “The conduct of the MVA government has upset the BJP cadre. They are not in favour of any alliance with any of the MVA constituents.”

“What Pawar said was only the half-truth… And he is speaking as per his convenience,” state BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhaye told The Indian Express on Thursday.

Upadhaye said that BJP leader and former CM Devendra Fadnavis has already spoken about what transpired at that time. “We do not want to speak about it again,” he said.

Speaking at the launch of Ashtavdhani, a coffee table book published by Loksatta, the Marathi newspaper from The Indian Express Group, to mark his 81st birthday, Pawar said: “It is true that there was a discussion about an alliance between our two parties. The Prime Minister said we should think about it…However, I told him right in his office that it was not possible and I would not like to keep them in the dark.” Pawar was speaking to Loksatta Editor Girish Kuber about his political and social journey.

Responding to Upadhaye’s comments, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said, “Since Sharad Pawar is saying it, it has to be true. During that time, BJP had become desperate to form the government in Maharashtra. They were trying to establish contact with different people, including Ajit Pawar and our people (Sena leaders). I was aware that Pawar had received the offer (from BJP) and he had spoken to us about this. There was nothing secret about… who was meeting and holding discussions. There was transparency among us and the BJP was probably not aware of this. Because of this transparency, they could not form the government.”

Praveen Darekar, Opposition leader in the Legislative Council, said, “Whatever happened between the two leaders, only they know of it. Let’s not dig out the past. The MVA government is now in place. Alliances happen in politics, there is nothing new about it.”

Senior NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who was part of a failed effort to form a government with BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis in the days after the election results, refused to comment on the matter on Thursday.

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