This Article is From Apr 06, 2022

"This Is Injustice": Sharad Pawar Raises Probe Against Ally With PM

PM Modi-Sharad Pawar Meeting: The two spoke for about 20 minutes at PM Modi's office in parliament.

PM Modi-Sharad Pawar Meeting: The details of the meeting are not known yet. (File)

New Delhi:

In a buzzy meeting today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar raised the central probe agencies' action against leaders of Maharashtra's ruling coalition and other politicians bitterly opposed to the BJP.

The two spoke for about 20 minutes at PM Modi's office in parliament, hours after the Enforcement Directorate seized the properties of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut's wife Varsha Raut and a relative of Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi minister Satyendra Jain in an alleged money laundering case.

"On what basis was action taken against Sanjay Raut? This is injustice. What's the provocation for action against Raut - just because he is making some statements?" Sharad Pawar told reporters as he shared what he had discussed with PM Modi.

This morning, the CBI took custody of former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, a senior leader of Sharad Pawar's party.

He also dismissed talk of any turmoil within the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition that he helped stitch up in 2019 after the Shiv Sena broke up with its long-term ally BJP. "We will fight together in next elections...the MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi). There is a stability, I am answering these questions for the last two-and-a-half years," Mr Pawar said.

Significantly, the PM's meeting with one of the senior most opposition politicians in the country also took place months before the Presidential election.

Mr Pawar again stressed that he was not ready to lead the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition that, led by the Congress, ruled the country for 10 years. Sonia Gandhi is the chairperson of the UPA.

"I am not ready to be UPA chairperson and we don't want to disturb the present set up," Mr Pawar said.

Deflecting questions about the possibility of his "return to the Congress" to revive the party, the NCP leader also said dissidents in the Congress were "asking for more strength".

Though he is one of the prime movers in the opposition, Mr Pawar has vehemently rejected the idea of leading the UPA. "I am not interested," he had said recently, when asked whether he would consider such a position if only to rally the opposition for a united fight against the BJP in the 2024 national election.

However, Mr Pawar has been pivotal in crafting alliances and marshaling opposition forces and was seen to be actively prepping strategy for a united fight to take on the BJP.

Mr Pawar said he had also discussed with the PM the long-pending approval by the Maharashtra Governor of a list of 12 names for the state Legislative Council. The state government has been pushing for the Governor's sign off on its list of members nominated to the legislative council for more than two years.

Responding to allegations that central agencies were being misused to target the Maharashtra government, former Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said: "When they send officers to the residences of our leaders even when they are not at fault, we say we'll go to the court as we trust it. But when ED takes action on basis of evidence, they are criticized."