Sharad Pawar could not become Prime Minister because of the Congress’s dynasty politics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a meeting with MPs of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) from Maharashtra.
“The BJP is not arrogant like the Congress, so it will stay in power,” PM Modi said at the meeting on Tuesday, the latest in his series of chats with NDA MPs ahead of the national election next year.
PM Modi also spoke about his first meeting as Prime Minister in 2014 with then President Pranab Mukherjee, another Congress veteran.
“He told me the party (BJP) announced you as PM candidate and the party got an absolute majority in your name. This happened for the first time. The public chose you because before this, announcing the name of a PM candidate never resulted in a complete majority in elections,” PM Modi shared.
Sharad Pawar, 82, exited the Congress in 1999 following his revolt over Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin. Days later, he formed the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which recently split after a coup by his nephew Ajit Pawar, who has joined hands with the BJP.
The PM made the comments as NCP fights off rumours that Sharad Pawar is warming up to the BJP. The veteran himself reportedly assured his party workers on Monday that he would not join forces with the BJP.
At yesterday’s meeting, PM Modi also attacked Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena, which suffered a similar split last year and lost power after rebel Eknath Shinde walked out and formed an alliance with the BJP.
“We didn’t break the alliance with Shiv Sena, they did. Since 2014, Shiv Sena was part of the coalition government, but their party’s newspaper ‘Saamana’ constantly criticized our government. Unfounded criticism was published and controversies were stirred up.
We tolerated this. We took it lightly,” PM Modi said.
“On one hand, you want to stay in power together, and on the other hand, you also criticize. How can both things happen together? Eknath Shinde joined us, and he was given the position of Chief Minister. We will stay together; there will be respect for everyone,” he added, saying parties who want to join the NDA “are welcome”.
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