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With raised probe agency action against ally Sanjay Raut, Sharad Pawar meets PM

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s one-on-one meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday sparked a huge buzz in Maharashtra’s political circles as it comes in the backdrop of the Enforcement Directorate going after the ruling leaders of Maharashtra’s ruling coalition, especially those from Pawar’s NCP and Shiv Sena. The meeting, which was held in Parliament, lasted for 20-25 minutes.

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This comes a day after the Enforcement Directorate seized assets worth more than ₹ 11.15 crore belonging to Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s wife and two of his associates in an investigation linked to alleged land deals.

“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 later told reporters on his discussions with PM Modi.

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

Mr Pawar also discussed 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.

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Mr Pawar last evening held a meeting at his home in Mumbai for Maharashtra MLAs and leaders. Besides MLAs from the ruling alliance, the meeting at Mr Pawar’s home also featured Union Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.

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.

“I am not ready for to be UPA chairperson and we don’t want to disturb the present set up,” Mr Pawar said.

Though he is one of the prime movers in the opposition, Mr Pawar has more than once 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.

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