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Was It Out Of Fear Of Probe Agencies That Sharad Pawar Approached BJP In 2019 For Govt Formation Talks: Fadnavis

On Wednesday, Fadnavis claimed that Sharad Pawar had shown his willingness to form a government by extending support to the BJP. The NCP supremo, however, refuted the claim. 

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis
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Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday sought to know whether it was out of the fear of central probe agencies that NCP chief Sharad Pawar approached the BJP in 2019 and showed willingness to form a government in the state with the party.

Fadnavis' remark comes a day after Pawar criticised the rebel Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faction led by his nephew Ajit Pawar for joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra in July, saying those who have gone with the BJP had nothing to do with the NCP and that they switched sides because of the threat of investigation agencies.

On Wednesday, Fadnavis claimed that Sharad Pawar had shown his willingness to form a government by extending support to the BJP. The NCP supremo, however, refuted the claim. 

When asked about it on the sidelines of an event, Fadnavis told reporters, "I just want to know, did he (Sharad Pawar) come to the BJP in 2019 out of the fear of central probe agencies? Even in 2017, Pawar had discussed the possibility of government formation (with the BJP). He clearly knows why people from his party switched sides." 

"It is inappropriate to level allegations against your own colleagues after they leave you," the senior BJP leader said. 

Fadnavis reiterated that the President’s Rule was imposed in Maharashtra in 2019 with the consent of Sharad Pawar. 

"It was Sharad Pawar who had given consent for the imposition of the President's rule in Maharashtra...That's why the President's rule was imposed in Maharashtra. Whatever I have said is true," he said.

When asked about the possibility of Ajit Pawar becoming the chief minister of Maharashtra, Fadnavis said, "Ajit Pawar is a prominent leader, but people should not forget the fact that Eknath Shinde is the current chief minister of Maharashtra. Whoever is in politics always has some aspirations. The upcoming elections will be contested under the leadership of Eknath Shinde." 

In one of the biggest political surprises in Maharashtra after the 2019 polls, the then Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari swore in Fadnavis as the chief minister and Ajit Pawar as deputy CM on November 23, 2019. However, the government collapsed within 80 hours. 

Talking about it in February this year, Fadnavis had said the dramatic exercise had Sharad Pawar’s backing. 

"We had an offer from the NCP that they needed a stable government and we should form such a government together. We decided to go ahead and hold talks. The talks happened with Sharad Pawar. Then things changed," the former chief minister had said. Pawar senior had, however, stoutly denied Fadnavis' claim.

-With PTI Input

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