AS SPECULATION spirals over Government formation in Maharashtra, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament over farmers’ distress in Maharashtra, even as the Congress and NCP stepped up momentum on forming the Government in the coastal State. Pawar said that in a memorandum that he brought the “alarming situation” to the Prime Minister’s notice and demanded a “complete and unconditional” farm loan waiver in the wake of the recent damage due to unseasonal rains. He also demanded that farmers be given zero per cent credit to raise new crops and also save them from private money lenders and finance companies.
Asked by reporters about Government formation in Maharashtra, the NCP chief declined to comment. The meeting between Pawar and Modi at the Prime Minister’s chamber in Parliament took place amid talks between the NCP, the Congress and the Shiv Sena for an alliance. “Due to President’s Rule in the State, your urgent intervention is highly necessitated. I shall be grateful if you could take immediate steps to initiate massive relief measures to ameliorate distressed farmers,” the three-page memorandum given by Pawar to Modi said. There were few takers for Pawar’s emphatic denial of any political discussion having taken place during his meeting with Modi.
Two days ago, Modi praised NCP MPs for their decision to not enter the Well of the house during proceedings. Maharashtra has been under the President’s Rule since November 12. NCP and Congress leaders met in the evening at Pawar’s residence in Delhi to discuss how to partner with the Shiv Sena, the long-term BJP ally which recently ended its alliance with the ruling party over a power tussle in Maharashtra.
Senior leaders of the Congress and the NCP held talks here on Wednesday with a focus on firming up the modalities for taking a shot at Government formation in Maharashtra. Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh, Mallikarjun Kharge, Prithviraj Chavan, K C Venugopal and Balasaheb Thorat attended the meeting. NCP leaders Supriya Sule, Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil and Nawab Malik were also present.
Cong unhappy with PM-Pawar meet
NEW DELHI : THE Congress seems to be unhappy with NCP chief Sharad Pawar meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of farmers’ distress in Maharashtra. Home Minister Amit Shah was also present in the meeting. The Congress sources say that the meeting is sending wrong signals when negotiation for an alliance with the Sena is going on. The Congress has already expressed apprehension on a tie up with the Sena.
The NCP-Congress high level committee is to meet to finalise the common minimum program (CMP). Sena MP Sanjay Raut has also claimed that there will be Sena-led Government in the State soon. The Shiv Sena has also raised the issue of changing of seats in the Upper House, Sanjay Raut has shot off a letter to the Rajya Sabha Chairman saying, “when they have not parted ways from NDA officially, why their seats have been changed arbitrarily”.
The two developments of Pawar-PM meet and Sena writing letter to Venkaiah Naidu are giving mixed signals, said a senior congress leader. However, a top source said on Tuesday that at this point too, there is no commitment, and matters will move according to the talks, and Congress is “not in a hurry”. On Monday, NCP leader Sharad Pawar had met Sonia Gandhi and discussed the possibility of a tie-up. The Congress has also kept the window open, party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. Pawar has however ruled out any tie-up with the BJP, but said that during the meeting, supporting the Shiv Sena was not discussed.