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Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar To Meet PM Modi On July 18, Farmer Issues To Be Taken Up

Newly appointed Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra who bagged the Finance and Planning portfolio in the Eknath Shinde government is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 18. Pawar said that he aims to take up the issues of farmers in the state during the meeting with PM Modi.

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Ajit Pawar-led NCP meeting in Mumbai
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Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said on Saturday that he is going to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, July 18 and he aims to take up the issues faced by the farmers in Maharashtra during the meeting. 

Ajit Pawar joined the Eknath Shinde government on July 2 after splitting Nationalist Congress Party into two factions with a backing of a pool of NCP MLAs and eight other leaders who joined the alliance government with him. He bagged the key Finance and Planning portfolio on Friday and said that he was happy with the portfolio allocations. 

Ajit Pawar on Saturday told the media, "I will meet PM Narendra Modi on July 18. During the meeting, I will take up various issues related to farmers with him. (NCP leader) Praful Patel and I will attend the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) meeting." 

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The deputy CM arrived in Nashik to attend the 'Shasan Aplya Dari' (government at your doorstep) programme.

Asked about Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut's reported claim that as the Shinde-led faction was not willing to part with the finance portfolio, it was asked to give up the CM's post, the NCP leader said, "I don't know. This is an attempt to disturb the atmosphere unnecessarily. We are happy with the portfolio allocation." 

There are around 14 vacant positions (in the cabinet) and expansion of the cabinet is the chief minister's prerogative, he said. 

"The CM will decide, I will not speak about it," Pawar said in response to a query about the cabinet expansion.

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There are now 28 cabinet ministers in the Shinde-led government but no minister of state. The ministry can have a maximum of 43 members. There was speculation that the state ministry expansion would also happen on Friday, but it did not take place.

Asked about the pending civic elections in the state, Pawar said four to five issues, including that of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservation, are pending in the Supreme Court. The Maharashtra Election Commission has issued orders to prepare electoral rolls, he said. 

After the completion of electoral rolls and the top court's verdict on the concerned issues, elections will be held in the state, he added. 

"There will be equitable progress in the state and there will be no differences. There are many communities and castes in the state. We will take everyone along. In 'Mahayuti' (grand alliance), we will work in tandem and efforts will be taken for the development of all," he said. 

When pointed out that NCP founder Sharad Pawar's pictures were missing in the posters put up in Nashik to welcome him, he said, "Pawar saheb is our inspiration, our idol. His photograph is there in my cabin."

Sharad Pawar's wife Pratibha Pawar underwent a surgery related to hand at the Breach Candy Hospital in south Mumbai on Friday. After the operation, Ajit Pawar visited Silver Oak, the official residence of the NCP supremo, to meet Pratibha Pawar after she was discharged from hospital.

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Talking about his visit, he said politics and family are different things. 

"We value family and traditions. Kaki (Pratibha Pawar) had some injury and was operated upon. I wanted to go in the afternoon, but could not go and therefore visited in the evening. Pawar saheb, kaki and Supriya (Sule) were there...There was no discussion on politics," Pawar said.

On the NCP name and symbol, Pawar said, "We are in the government to solve people's issues. No one's legislature membership will be in problem. We will not hurt the faith of those who have supported us."

Speaking about the prevailing water situation, he said the state has not recorded sufficient rainfall so far this year. 
Water level in dams has gone down and there is a need to use water carefully, Pawar said.

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Pawar arrived in Nashik by Vande Bharat Express train, where he was accorded a warm welcome by his supporters. It was his first visit to Nashik after becoming part of the Shinde-led government.

(With PTI inputs)

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