Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over relief for drought hit farmers in Maharashtra. Pawar’s meeting with PM Modi comes in the backdrop of a logjam in Maharashtra over the formation of a new government.
The meeting between Pawar and Modi will take place around 12 pm in Parliament. “NCP chief Sharad Pawar will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi today in Parliament, over the issue of Maharashtra farmers. We will demand some relief for the farmers, from the Prime Minister,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that there isn’t much to be read on Pawar meeting PM Modi. “Is there something always cooking if some leader meets the PM. He [Modi] is the prime minister for the entire nation and farmers are facing problems in Maharashtra. Be it inside Parliament or outside, anyone can meet the PM,” Raut said.
Unseasonal rains have damaged crops on about 70 lakh hectares of land, and the total loss is expected to be around Rs 5000 crore. BJP’s former ally Shiv Sena, too, has hit out at the government for not considering the situation as natural calamity and providing relief to farmers from central resources.
This is first meeting between Modi and Pawar after the imposition of President’s rule in Maharashtra, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena had a pre-poll alliance but they could not stick together to form a government despite their alliance getting a majority.
Pawar is now in discussion with the Sena and Congress to explore forming a government. While the BJP had targeted Pawar during election campaign in Maharashtra, Prime Minister Modi on Monday praised his party for adhering to parliamentary norms, even in protest.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, on the occasion of the 250th sitting of the upper house, Modi said members of the NCP and Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) never enter well of the House, and others need to learn from them.
Top leaders of Conress and NCP are expect to meet in Delhi today to begin the final phase of deliberations over formation of a government in Maharashtra in a tie-up with Sena.
Pawar met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday at her 10 Janpath residence. After the meeting, which lasted for around an hour, Pawar said Congress and NCP will hold talks with other members of their pre-poll alliance in Maharashtra over the possibility of a tie-up with Sena.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has also convened a meeting of his party MLAs at his residence Matoshree on Friday.
Sena, NCP and Congres have already prepared a draft of common minimum programme. If the three parties come together their tally will be 154 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly, nine more than the majority mark.