A meeting between Sharad Pawar and PM Narendra Modi for an hour on Saturday on the veteran Maratha’s reservations about changes to the Banking Amendments Act set off serious speculation, leading the Nationalist Congress Party to clarify that they can never align with BJP.
The closed-door discussion, which came in the wake of squabbling among Maharashtra’s ruling coalition members— Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena —triggered political chatter suggesting hidden motives behind the wily satrap calling on the BJP leader. A recent one-on-one by Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray with Modi had raised a similar storm, and was dubbed an attempt by Sena to send a message to MVA allies about its willingness to explore options.
While the PMO tweeted about the meeting with a photograph of the two leaders, Pawar wrote on the micro-blogging site, “Met the Hon’ble Prime Minister of our country Narendra Modi. Had a discussion on various issues of national interest.”
The speculations generated by the meeting was serious enough for NCP spokesman Nawab Malik to call a press conference in Mumbai and debunk reports that the Pawar-Modi meet had implications for the state government.
Malik said NCP and BJP were like two ends of a river which can never meet because they are ideologically opposite. He also said Pawar had informed CM Thackeray as well as Congress leaders about the proposed meeting a few days ago. “It was a scheduled meeting. CM Uddhav Thackeray and AICC general secretary H K Patil were also aware about the meeting. Prima facie, Pawar knocked at the doors of the PM to express concern over amendments to the banking regulation act and creation of the ministry of cooperation led by Amit Shah. Pawar has written a comprehensive letter to the PM,” Malik said.\
“First Pawar spoke to the PM on the anti-bank amendments, but then PM felt it will be better if there is personal discussion. Accordingly, Pawar met Modi,” Malik added.
Later, Pawar tweeted a letter he wrote to the PM about the amendment in the Banking Act. “I wish to point out certain inconsistencies and the resulting legal inefficacy of normative provisions of the Act that are in conflict, most specifically with the 97th Constitutional Amendment, State Cooperative Societies Acts and with the Cooperative Principles.”
“I reiterated in the letter that the aims and objectives of the amended Act are well-intentioned and many provisions are necessary. Erring board and management must definitely be acted upon strictly and the depositors’ interests should be protected, but at the same time it should be ensured that while doing so, the cooperative principles laid down in the Constitution are not sacrificed at the altar of over-zealous regulation,” Pawar tweeted.
NCP also said Pawar expressed his reservations about the newly-constituted cooperation ministry headed by Amit Shah, arguing that the cooperatives sector was a state subject.
“The NCP can never join hands with BJP because both parties are ideologically different. The BJP and NCP are two ends of a river that cannot come together as long as there is water in the river,” Malik said.
In his letter to Modi, Pawar pointed out that while incorporation, regulation and winding up of cooperative societies have been earmarked as state subjects, the RBI on the basis of newly-introduced impugned provisions, can directly intervene into the functioning of the cooperative banks. “In my opinion, the new provisions are unconstitutional and ultra vires, for having been passed without legislative competence,” Pawar said. ( TOI )