Mumbai, Mar 29: Amid reports of an alleged secret meeting between Union Home Minister Amit Shah with Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar early on Sunday, Maharashtra’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi on Monday rubbished the purported development and reiterated that the state government is safe and sound.
Though leaders of all three constituents – the Shiv Sena, the NCP, and the Congress — have denied any such behind-the-curtains parleys even took place, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party is fuelling the speculation on the unconfirmed clandestine meet at the home of a leading businessman.
Sena leader and Raja Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said he was “not aware of any such meeting”, but “even if they meet, so what?”
“If the country’s Home Minister meets any MP or leaders of any political party, so what’s wrong with it? Pawar Saheb is a senior leader and he can meet Shah… even I can meet,” Raut countered when quizzed by media persons.
NCP General Secretary Praful Patel said in Kochi on Sunday: “The MVA was formed by the efforts of Pawar Saheb, and there is no reason to think about unnecessary things (toppling the MVA).”
Raut continued that in politics, there’s nothing really secret, and if it was so, “how did you come to know about it?”
“The Home Minister said that ‘not every meeting can be made public’. However, I recall that in past, he had spoken about what had happened behind closed doors” Raut said, referring to the Shah-Uddhav Thackeray meeting in February 2019 at ‘Matoshri’, the latter’s residence in Mumbai, ahead of the elections.
A Congress leader, preferring anonymity, said while there is nothing wrong with such meetings or confabulations among top national leaders, the laughable aspect of the alleged Shah-Pawar meet was the media’s wild speculation that it could lead to a collapse of the MVA government here.
Attempting to needle the MVA, BJP state President Chandrakant Patil evaded a direct response but said: “Such meetings take place routinely… In Indian culture, politics is on one side, but we should all keep meeting. Recently, such meetings have reduced in Maharashtra. Since Pawar and Shah were there (Ahmedabad), they may have met.”
To a pointed query on whether a potential BJP-NCP team-up was acceptable to him, Patil guardedly said that whatever decisions are taken by the party’s senior leadership would be accepted by all and would be always in the party’s interests.