Mumbai, 18 Nov 2019: Hours before the meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar’s silent response has baffled media on Monday.
To a media query over Shiv Sena’s statement that they are in talks with the NCP to form government, Mr Pawar’s was a one word reply : "Really?"
Congress camp is still undecided to stitch a partnership with the ideologically opposite Shiv Sena. But Sonia took a u-turn after the pressure from the party's Maharashtra leadership on the tie-up, arguing it was an opportunity to keep the BJP out in one of the most important states.
Another interesting question from media was:"Do you think the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government will happen". But Pawar’s reply to this question was also rather uninteresting one: "Shiv Sena-BJP contested separately, NCP-Congress contested separately, how can you say that? They (BJP-Sena) have to find their own way. We will do our own politics".
Despite act as a bridge between Shiv Sena and the Congress for the past many days, an unclear reply from the NCP leader was a rather disappointing one.
Reporters persisted: "But Shiv Sena is saying we will make a government along with Pawar Saheb...?"
Mr Pawar's one-word response was: "Accha? (Really?)"
Some sources say there is pressure on Pawar from the Centre to stall the alliance. Top NCP leaders like Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel have been booked in Enforcement Directorate cases and the Income Tax department conducted raids on Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) contractors - a move seen as targeted at the Shiv Sena, which controls the cash-rich civic body. Sources also say that while the NCP has ceded the Chief Minister's post in talks with the Shiv Sena, the party is keen to get key portfolios and the comments may be posturing to attain that.