This Valentine’s Day, Baramati the NCP bastion in Pune district will see Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar sharing a dais, just over three months after Modi’s last appearance there during the Assembly poll campaign, when he had told the local residents to make the region ‘Pawar-free’.
Modi will attend a function organised by the Pawar-controlled Vidya Vikas Pratishthan on February 14. File pic
The development can be seen as a mark of increasing bonhomie between the two leaders. Pawar, on his part, has been supportive of the BJP, as he was the first to extend unconditional support to the party’s minority government in the state, even before the election results were out.
Modi, too, has been reciprocal barring the period leading up to the Assembly polls when he addressed an election rally in support of the party contestant fighting against Ajit Pawar in Baramati. The BJP had not fielded its candidate in the Lok Sabha polls against Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule.
However, it should also be noted that Pawar had recently complained that the PM’s office had failed to respond to the objections he had raised over CM Devendra Fadnavis’ idea of establishing a PM-led panel for fast-tracking Mumbai’s key projects.
But in view of the budding BJP-NCP bond, the political circles are not surprised by Modi’s willingness to attend a function organised by the Pawar-controlled Vidya Vikas Pratishthan on February 14. Sources said the PM will also review development work in the region then. Leaders from both the BJP and NCP did not comment on record, but were unanimous in saying that the PM’s role goes beyond party lines.
“Mr Pawar has always maintained that no leader from other parties was untouchable for him, and his politics was always beyond party lines,” said a senior NCP leader. A BJP leader played down the matter as well, and said, “Mr Pawar is a big leader and many non-NCP leaders are his personal friends. The programme the PM will attend isn’t political.”