Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly announcing how he shared a bonhomie with NCP leader Sharad Pawar has triggered speculation of new political orientations. Modi’s public announcement about the bond he shared with the NCP patriarch came as a surprise to many.
Modi labelled Pawar as a leader who constantly strived to do something for the farmers.
The contrast after a bitter war of words during the elections in Maharashtra, was on display at a time when relations between Bharatiya Janata Party and ally Shiv Sena have hit another low. In the last couple of days, the Shiv Sena has been targeting Modi and the BJP for the Delhi poll debacle and the Baramati rally coincided with the day Arvind Kejriwal was sworn in as Delhi Chief Minister.
Pawar, returning the praise, lauded Modi’s Gujarat model of development. “I experienced first-hand how you changed the fate of farmers in water-starved Kutch (Gujarat) with agriculture and water reforms,” Pawar said.
“I want to remind Modiji that four years ago, he called me to Anand (Gujarat) when I was Union Agriculture Minister to share innovations undertaken by local farmers in dairy and animal husbandry. I am happy that today he agreed to let me show innovations that farmers here (in Baramati) have implemented.”
Pawar gifted Modi with a book that celebrates development of Baramati. Pawar on Saturday offered all cooperation for development. He said, “My associates (in the NCP) are willing to support and cooperate with you for development.”
Modi quipped in Marathi, “Baramatichya shetkari madhe mati ani gati ahe. Jithe mati ani gati aste, tithech pragati hote. (There is intellect and foresight amongst farmers in Baramati. Progress comes when the two coexist”).
During the Maharashtra poll campaign, Modi had urged voters in Baramati, the home turf of the Nationalist Congress Party, to topple the “Naturally Corrupt Party.” POst the elections, Pawar made his stand clear that his party would play a constructive role and offer support for development of the state. He had recently pointed out to Modi that his silence on “Ghar Wapasi” had undermined the PM’s chair.
Political analysts, reading into the rally felt it would send a signal to the rank and file of both parties that they were not hostile to each other and added that it serve to caution Shiv Sena to tread carefully against the BJP.
Business magnates Cyrus Poonawala, B G Shirke, Bhavarlal Jain, Ajit Gulabchand and Baba Kalyani were among those who attended the lunch session.