'Sharad Pawar should join NDA, will be rewarded'

Last Updated 23 November 2019, 13:33 IST

Squarely blaming the Shiv Sena for the dramatic turn of events in Maharashtra, Union minister Ramdas Athawale on Saturday urged NCP chief Sharad Pawar to walk over to the NDA camp, hinting that he might be rewarded with a plum portfolio at the Centre.

He said Pawar should also consider backing his rebellious nephew Ajit Pawar - sworn in as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra.

"Sharad Pawar, too, should consider revising his stance and joining the NDA. He may get some good portfolio at the Centre," Athawale said when asked about the difficulty the NCP faction headed by Ajit Pawar might face in engineering a split before the floor test on November 30.

Athawale, who heads the RPI a Maharasthra-based pro-Dalit outfit was here to attend a function in his capacity as the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment in the Narendra Modi government.

The month-long political impasse in Maharashtra ended dramatically on Saturday with the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Fadnavis returning as the chief minister, backed by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

"After the BJP and the Shiv Sena fought the assembly polls in alliance and won a majority, the former behoved the Sena to help the saffron party head the government and settle for the deputy chief minister's post.

"Any other grievances could have been settled in due course. But, it threw a tantrum and caused a stalemate. Ultimately, they have been outsmarted by the modern-day 'Chanakya' Amit Shah," the minister told reporters.

Athawale, known for his rhyming repartees, added: "BJP ne Congress ko latka diya hai, Shiv Sena ko jhatka diya hai aur NCP ko sarkaar mein atkaa diya hai (the BJP has left the Congress in a quandary, shocked the Shiv Sena and taken the NCP along information of the government."

Meanwhile, the developments in Maharashtra led to jubilations in the BJP's Bihar unit, even as it left opposition parties like the Congress and Lalu Prasad's RJD stunned.

The BJP came out with the announcement that it would celebrate the day as 'Vijay Diwas' (day of victory) at the state headquarters here.

Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, in a tweet, congratulated Devendra Fadnavis for being sworn in as the chief minister for the second consecutive term.

He also compared the Shiv Sena, one of the oldest allies of the BJP, to the RJD, which was "full of lumps".

"Sharad Pawar, like Nitish Kumar, knew that the BJP is more reliable than the Congress. Shiv Sena was like RJD. Very difficult to work with a party like Sena or RJD, which are full of lumps," Sushil Modi said.

The deputy CM was referring to the dramatic turnaround witnessed in Bihar in 2017, which bore an uncanny resemblance to the developments that took place in Maharashtra early Saturday morning.

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath to Fadnavis and Pawar at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai around 7.30 am.

Congress legislature party leader Sadanand Singh and RJD MLA Bhai Virendra expressed shock over the sequence of events, alleging that "democracy is under threat" and "it is yet another instance of the BJP hijacking the popular mandate".

(Published 23 November 2019, 13:01 IST)

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