Uddhav Thackeray of Shiv Sena has finally been sworn in as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra after Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP alliance formed the government in the state. The development came after Ajit Pawar of NCP had withdrawn support from the BJP government leading to the resignation of Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar as CM and Deputy CM respectively. It now appears that Sharad Pawar himself was ready to offer support to BJP and had sent communication with two demands to PM Modi and HM Amit Shah, and BJP had rejected them both, leading to the fall of the 3-day old alliance between Ajit Pawar and BJP.
Sharad Pawar, the NCP supremo had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah with two conditions to support the government formation in Maharashtra. Both these demands were reportedly rejected by the party.
Demand 1: Removal of Devendra Fadnavis
According to IANS, the first demand that NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had placed before PM Modi and Amit Shah was that Devendra Fadnavis should not be Maharashtra’s Chief Minister and that he should be removed.
It is unclear as to why Pawar was adamant about Devendra Fadnavis being removed as the CM of Maharashtra. Either way, this demand was summarily rejected by BJP. PM Modi and Amit Shah were never in favour of removing Devendra Fadnavis since he had completed his 5-year tenure without any controversy or allegations.
Devendra Fadnavis was the first Chief Minister to complete his 5-year tenure in 47 years.
Apart from this, the party contested the elections with Fadnavis as the CM face and even the Prime Minister, while addressing the party workers from the BJP headquarters on 24 October, had announced him as the Chief Minister. Hence, it was difficult for the BJP to accept this demand from the NCP supremo.
Demand 2: Agriculture Ministry to Supriya Sule
The second demand that Sharad Pawar posed to PM Modi and Amit Shah was the Agriculture Ministry be given to Supriya Sule.
According to IANS, this demand was rejected as well. BJP thought that if it decided to offer the agriculture ministry to the NCP, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), its ally from Bihar, will demand the railway ministry. In this situation, despite having the mandate, the BJP would lose two big ministries.
The 40-minute meeting between Sharad Pawar and PM Modi
After NCP supremo Sharad Pawar got no response on these two demands from the BJP, Pawar had met PM Modi and conducted a 40-minute meeting regarding the same. According to IANS, during the 40-minute meeting between Sharad Pawar and PM Modi, the Prime Minister did not agree to the demands posed by Sharad Pawar.
On 22 November, Sharad Pawar’s nephew and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar offered support to the BJP. It was said that Ajit Pawar had the backing of around 30-35 MLAs who were ready to support the BJP.
It was also speculated that Sharad Pawar gave his tactical consent to his nephew’s move but afterwards, he took to Twitter to deny the alliance of the NCP with the BJP.
According to speculations, though Sharad Pawar had distanced himself publicly, Ajit Pawar had Sharad Pawar’s tacit support in his alliance. Pawar had hoped that BJP will eventually concede to both demands posed by Sharad Pawar however, that did not happen and thus, Ajit Pawar was asked to retreat and NCP joined hands with Congress and Shiv Sena to form the government.
Dilip Deodhar, the RSS ideologue from Nagpur, told IANS, “There was a buzz about Sharad Pawar’s demands in the Sangh, but Modi’s denial was more than that. Since the farmers’ issue is one of the main matters in the state, the agriculture ministry would have been the best bet for the NCP. Sharad Pawar had earlier served as the agriculture minister.
“Secondly, Fadnavis was the choice of Modi so there was no question of replacing him. When Sharad Pawar finally understood that the BJP will not agree to his demands, he decided to ally with the Sena and the Congress.”