- At the meeting, Sharad Pawar flagged concerns on Ministry of Cooperation
- The NCP leader has said cooperative banking sector is a state subject
- The meeting comes two days ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the latter's residence. During the meeting which lasted for about 50 minutes, the veteran politician raised concerns about the newly-formed Ministry of Cooperation which is headed by Amit Shah, and farmers' issues, sources in the NCP said.
"Rajya Sabha MP Shri Sharad Pawar met PM Narendra Modi," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted, along with a photo of the two leaders meeting. Mr Pawar, who sought an appointment with PM Modi, got one for Saturday morning.
Apart from meeting PM Modi, Mr Pawar, 80, also wrote him a letter, flagging concerns on the Ministry of Cooperation. He said cooperative banking sector is a state subject. Citing Supreme Court judgments, he said that any attempt of interference by the centre will be a breach of the Constitution.
"This meeting was due for many days and a time was found today (Saturday). A leader from Maharashtra meeting the Prime Minister has nothing to do with anything else... We expect that the PM will consider all requests of the banking sector," NCP leader and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik said.
Earlier this week, the Rajya Sabha member had commented on the formation of the new Ministry of Cooperation a day before the mega reshuffle of PM Modi's cabinet. He said laws for the cooperation sector had been framed in the Maharashtra assembly and that the centre has no right to interfere with legislation drafted by the state.
The meeting also comes two days ahead of the monsoon session of parliament and amid reports of strains in the Shiv Sena-led alliance in Maharashtra, of which Mr Pawar's party is a constituent.
Earlier this week, Mr Pawar denied being a candidate for the post of President -- a speculation triggered by election analyst Prashant Kishor's meeting with the Gandhis.
"It is wrong to say I am a candidate for the Presidential election," Mr Pawar told reporters on Wednesday.
Mr Pawar who had taken the initiative to stitch up an opposition wall ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, also said no decision has been taken about the 2024 elections. "The political situation keeps changing," he added.
Mr Pawar was part of a meeting held by newly-appointed leader of Rajya Sabha and Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday, ahead of the Parliament session. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma, too, attended it. An all-party meeting will be held today.