Shiv Sena MP and party’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut on Sunday refuted a recent claim that NCP president Sharad Pawar had promised his support to the BJP for government formation in Maharashtra last year.
Raut, who played an important role in the formation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, said in his weekly column Rokhthok in Saamana that it was “completely false” that Pawar and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had a meeting where the plan for an early morning swearing-in ceremony was decided.
It was at a secretive dawn ceremony on November 23, last year, when former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and NCP leader Ajit Pawar got hurriedly sworn in as chief minister and deputy chief minister.
A recently published book has claimed that Pawar had a meeting with Shah and was ready to support the BJP government but later changed his mind.
Raut though did not deny that a meeting might have been held. “A top industrialist and an NCP leader may have been present… but Pawar was in no mood to make any deal with the BJP,” he wrote, adding that the NCP chief had clarified his position on government formation during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on farmers’ issues.
Recalling last year’s hectic parleys between Sena, NCP and Congress over government formation, Raut said that Pawar and senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had a heated argument over the Assembly Speaker’s post in a meeting at Nehru Centre on November 22.
“Kharge and other Congress leaders said that the Assembly Speaker’s post should not go to NCP, which led to a heated argument between Pawar and Kharge. Pawar collected his papers and left the room in anger. I have never seen Pawar so angry,” wrote Raut.
He further said that Pawar had suggested Uddhav Thackeray’s name for chief minister’s post in the same meeting but his argument with Kharge changed the mood. “Ajit Pawar was chatting on his mobile phone for a long time in the room and later left from the meeting. His cellphone was switched off and then he was seen the next day at the swearing-in at the Raj Bhavan,” he added.
Slamming BJP leaders for calling the MVA an “unnatural government”, Raut said the BJP has been predicting that the government would collapse.
“Agencies such as CBI and ED are being used to destabilise the government and protection is being given to the people involved in illegal construction and abetment of suicide. If these political pressure tactics are natural, then the ‘Thackeray sarkar” is also natural. The government has proved its majority on the floor of the House,” said Raut.
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