Nationalist Congress President chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had offered to work together and make his daughter Supriya Sule a minister in the Union Cabinet, but he had refused.
In an interview with a Marathi news channel, Pawar, however, rejected reports that the Modi government had offered to make him the president. “But there surely was an offer to make Supriya [Sule] a minister in the Modi-led cabinet,” Pawar added. Sule is a Lok Sabha member from Pune’s Baramati.
However, in an interview to NDTV on Tuesday, the NCP chief said that there was no such offer to Sule and that the prime minister had only complimented her work in Parliament. “For the last five years, some of the BJP leaders on many occasions suggest that [Sule] is a competent person, that she should join the process of decision-making and associate with us [BJP] on government but these are all general suggestions,” he said.
In Monday’s interview, the NCP chief said he told Modi that it will not be possible for him to work with the prime minister. “Modi told me that my political experience would be helpful for him to run the government,” said Pawar. “We both share similar opinions on some national issues, hence he made the offer. I told him that our personal relations are very good and they will remain that way but it is not possible for me to work together.”
However, Pawar said he had assured Modi that he would cooperate with the central government whenever needed. “Despite sitting in opposite rows in Parliament, will not oppose you for the sake of opposition,” Pawar said. “My cooperation will be there whenever needed.”
Modi has praised the veteran NCP leader on many occasions. While speaking on the occasion of 250th Rajya Sabha session, Modi said parties should learn from the NCP on how to stick to parliamentary norms. In 2016, PM Modi had praised the NCP chief as an example to others in public life. “I have personal respect for Pawar,” Modi had said. “I was the Gujarat chief minister that time. He helped me walk by holding my finger. I feel proud to pronounce this publicly.”
Pawar said not swearing in Ajit Pawar when Uddhav Thackeray took oath as chief minister on November 28 was a “conscious decision”, reported NDTV. In a surprise move on November 23, Fadnavis was sworn in as Maharashtra chief minister after support from Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar. However, both Pawar and Fadnavis resigned on November 26 after the Supreme Court ordered a floor test. Pawar has now returned to the NCP.
“When I came to know about Ajit’s support [to Fadnavis], the first person I contacted was Thackeray,” said Pawar. “I told him what happened was not right and gave him confidence that I will crush this [Ajit’s rebellion]. When all in NCP came to know my support was not there for Ajit’s action, those five-10 [MLAs] who were with him, there was pressure on them.”