Union minister Athawale invites Pawar to join NDA
Union minister and RPI(A) chief Ramdas Athawale on Monday invited NCP president Sharad Pawar to join the BJP-led NDA, saying the country and Maharashtra will benefit from the veteran politician's vast experience.
Pawar should support the BJP instead of the Shiv Sena, Athawale, whose party is a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), said in a statement in Mumbai.
"The BJP, NCP and RPI(A) should form a grand alliance in Maharashtra," he said, adding that Pawar should work with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"The country and Maharashtra will benefit out of Pawar's vast experience and hence, it is extremely necessary for the NCP chief to consider joining the NDA. I invite him to join the NDA," the Union social justice minister said.
The "grand alliance of the BJP, NCP and RPI(A)" would be a formidable one, Athawale claimed.
Pawar played a key role in stitching the alliance of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress to form the government in Maharashtra last year, after the Uddhav Thackeray-led party fell out with the BJP over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post.
In an interview published in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana on Monday, Pawar said his offer of outside support to the BJP in 2014 to form government in Maharashtra was a "political ploy" aimed to keep the Shiv Sena away from its then ally.
The Maratha strongman admitted he took steps to "widen the distance between the BJP and Shiv Sena".
He also said after the last year's Assembly polls, BJP leaders approached him to support the Devendra Fadnavis government in the state, but he told Prime Minister Modi that the NCP will not go with the BJP and if possible, it will form government with the Shiv Sena or sit in the opposition.
"The BJP doesnt believe that non-BJP parties have the right to function in a democratic set up," Pawar said.