Sharad Pawar meets PM Modi, raises concerns over Cooperation Ministry
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar today met at the former's residence in New Delhi. The meeting lasted nearly one hour, sources told NDTV. "Rajya Sabha MP Shri Sharad Pawar met PM Narendra Modi," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) tweeted this afternoon along with a picture of the two from the meet. Here are more details.
In today's meeting, Pawar raised concerns over the newly-formed Union Ministry of Cooperation and the farmers' protest, NDTV reported citing sources. Pawar said that the cooperative banking sector is a state issue and the central government's interference will be a breach of the Indian Constitution. "We expect that the PM will consider all requests of the banking sector," NCP leader Nawab Malik said today.
Pawar tweeted, "Met the Hon. Prime Minister of our country Shri Narendra Modi. Had a discussion on various issues of national interest. @PMOIndia (sic)." He also tweeted the same picture.
The meeting came a day after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met with Pawar and Congress party leader AK Antony for a discussion on the border situation with China and Pakistan as well as the situation in Afghanistan. Pawar was also part of a meeting by leader of Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal on Friday, days ahead of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament.
It has been speculated that Pawar will be the Opposition's candidate for the post of the President, election for which is due next year. The rumors were triggered by poll strategist Prashant Kishor's meetings with him and top Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi. He, however, has rejected such reports. "It is wrong to say I am a candidate for the Presidential election."
Reports also suggest that Pawar has been trying to stitch up a national-level Opposition alliance for the 2024 Indian general elections. He had taken such an initiative ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as well. But he says that no decision has been taken about the next national elections yet. "The political situation keeps changing," he had told reporters earlier this week.
The 19-day Monsoon Session of the Parliament is set to commence on July 19 and will conclude on August 13. An all-party meet will be held tomorrow, ahead of the Session. More than 40 Bills and five ordinances are pending before the Parliament, reports say.