Mumbai, Sept 11 (PTI): A senior Shiv Sena leader said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had offered a Cabinet berth to NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s lawmaker daughter Supriya Sule, a claim both the NCP and BJP trashed on Monday. In a signed article in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’on Sunday, Sanjay Raut, who edits the newspaper, claimed that Pawar once told him that his daughter was offered a Cabinet berth by Modi while trashing media speculations at the time that he himeself might join the NDA Government.
“Pawar told me there is no truth in media reports (that he would join the Modi cabinet). He described such reports as the height of stupidity,” Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP, wrote. “Rumours are being spread about my party. Modi had once told me he wanted Supriya in his Cabinet. Supriya, who was present at that meeting, told Modi that she would be the last person to join the BJP,” Raut claimed Pawar told him.
The Sena MP also said that Pawar told him that the NCP’s stand is very clear on not joining the Modi government, yet rumours are being spread to create confusion. “Sharad Pawar says this. But, there are senior NCP leaders who are in touch with CM Devendra Fadnavis. The Shiv Sena has no reason to be worried even if the NCP seeks inclusion in the Fadnavis cabinet. The chief minister is holding secret meetings with NCP leaders,” Raut said.
Though a long-time ally of the BJP and a member in the coalition governments headed by the saffron party in Maharashtra and at the Centre, Shiv Sena has often been at loggerheads with the senior partner and aired highly critical views about the NDA government. In a sharp retort to the Sena leader’s claims, a BJP spokesperson said Pawar and Raut have no political credibility left. The NCP said the party would never join the BJP, considering the ideological differences between them. “Do Sanjay Raut and Sharad Pawar have any political credibility? One should keep in mind they have no credibility before believing such reports,” BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari told PTI. “There is another possibility as well. The NCP wanted a berth in the Cabinet but could not get a favourable response from PM Modi. Hence the outcry. Raut and Pawar should reveal (the reasons for) the camaraderie between them,” he said. When PTI tried to contact Pawar for his reaction, a close aide of the NCP chief said he was in his home town Baramati and would respond to the Saamana article at an “appropriate” time. However, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said there is no question of his party joining the BJP in future as well, considering the ideological differences between the two parties. When these rumours were being spread, Supriya Sule and Praful Patel had clarified there was no truth in the reports. “The NCP never had any plan to join the BJP and will not do so in future as well due to ideological differences,” Malik said.