Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament to discuss the agrarian crisis in Maharashtra, ANI reported. The state has been under President’s Rule since November 12.
In a letter to the prime minister, Pawar said that he had collected data on the damage to crops from two districts but “damage because of excessive rains extends to rest of Maharashtra, including Marathwada and Vidarbha” regions. The NCP chief said the additional data would be sent to the prime minister soon.
Pawar asked Modi to urgently intervene in the prevailing agrarian crisis. “I shall be grateful, if you take immediate steps to initiate massive relief measures and ameliorate the miseries of the distressed farmers,” the letter read.
“Sharad Pawar will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi today in Parliament, over the issue of Maharashtra farmers,” Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik had said earlier in the day, according to The Indian Express. “We will demand some relief for the farmers from the prime minister.”
Pawar’s meeting with Modi comes at a time when there is a political crisis in Maharashtra, with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena failing to form the government despite a pre-poll alliance. The BJP had won 105 seats, the Shiv Sena 56 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party 54 seats and the Congress 44 seats, in the elections held on October 21.
The Shiv Sena had demanded the post of chief minister for two-and-a-half years, and half the Cabinet berths, demands the BJP has rejected. President’s Rule was imposed in Maharashtra on November 12, three days after the BJP told Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari that it did not have the numbers to form the government.
There have been attempts to put together a Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance government in the state, but talks between the three parties have not yet reached a conclusion. A Congress-Nationalist Congress Party meeting on government formation in Maharashtra is also likely to be held on Wednesday.
Pawar had met Interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi earlier this week. According to The Indian Express, senior Congress leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge, KC Venugopal, AK Antony and Ahmed Patel also met Gandhi, to discuss “baseline non-negotiables” and “assurances” that it wants the Shiv Sena to give on shedding hardline Hindutva.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said on Wednesday that the new government in Maharashtra will be in place by December. “The process to form the government will complete in next five to six days and a popular and strong government will be formed in Maharashtra before December,” he claimed. “The process is going on.”
Raut, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, also told reporters in New Delhi that the Shiv Sena wants Uddhav Thackeray to become the chief minister. He was responding to queries about Pawar’s cryptic answers when asked about government formation. On Monday, Pawar, after meeting Gandhi, had said that the Shiv Sena should be asked about government formation in the state.
But Raut said there was nothing odd about Pawar’s response. “There is nothing wrong in what Pawar saheb said because the Sena will form the government,” he said. “His stand is right as their mandate is to sit in the Opposition.”
“Some BJP leaders in Mumbai said that it will take 25 births for me to understand Modi,” Raut added. “So, I want to tell everyone that one will need 100 births to understand Sharad Pawar.”
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