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Amid Maharashtra Impasse, PM Modi's Praise for Sharad Pawar's NCP in Rajya Sabha Raises Eyebrows

Addressing the House in the 250th session of Rajya Sabha, Modi said, 'Today I want to appreciate two parties, NCP and BJD. These parties have strictly adhered to parliamentary norms. They have never gone into the well.'

Suhas Munshi | News18.com

Updated:November 18, 2019, 8:35 PM IST
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Amid Maharashtra Impasse, PM Modi's Praise for Sharad Pawar's NCP in Rajya Sabha Raises Eyebrows
PM Modi speaking in Parliament on Monday.

New Delhi: Ahead of talks between NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress president Sonia Gandhi over Maharashtra government formation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday extolled the virtues of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) at the Winter Session of Parliament, praising the party for strictly “adhering to parliamentary norms.”

Addressing the House on the occasion of the 250th session of Rajya Sabha, Modi said, “Today I want to appreciate two parties, NCP and BJD. These parties have strictly adhered to parliamentary norms." He said the other parties, including his own, should learn from them.

He also lauded the two parties for never entering Well of House to protest, saying that it has not affected their politics. "They have never gone into the well. Yet, they have raised their points very effectively. Other parties, including mine, can learn from them,” Modi said while underlining that the fortunes of either party have not been affected due to their self-imposed discipline.

The PM said various parties have often jumped into the Well disrupting the house's proceedings, and that NCP and BJD had shown how to take care of the concerns of the people while contributing in the smooth functioning of the House.

Modi's praise for the NCP is also interesting given the bitter and personal exchange of words between Modi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar in the campaigns of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

The BJP emerged as the single largest part in a state election in Maharashtra last month, and was expected to comfortably retain power with the help of its regional ally, the Shiv Sena. But in-fighting between the BJP and the Shiv Sena, which went on for days, culminated in the allies parting ways, dealing the first major political blow to Modi's ruling party since it retained power.

After falling out with its ally BJP over the demand for the post of the chief minister for an equal term, the Sena reached out to the Congress-NCP combine for support. The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats, respectively. The Sena later withdrew its lone minister Arvind Sawant from the Narendra Modi government. On Saturday, Sena MP Sanjay Raut had announced that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party's exit from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was a "formality".

Speaking on the 250th session of the Upper House of the Parliament, Modi reminded the members that NDA was also at the helm on the 200th session of the Upper House. He said the Rajya Sabha is "eternal" because unlike Lok Sabha, which gets dissolved at the end of every term of the ruling alliance, Rajya Sabha has never been dissolved and will never be.

"This house has seen history being created several times since Independence," Modi said, recounting some of the landmark bills that the NDA got passed in the Rajya Sabha.

"The Triple Talaaq bill was a great step in women empowerment, the 10% reservation for poor sections in general sections which happened without any discontent throughout the country, the historic GST bill, the scrapping of Article 370 and 35A which was actually introduced by a leader of this house N Gopalaswami,” he said.

The state is under President’s rule since the falling out of a pre-poll alliance between Sena and the BJP.

Ahead of his meeting with the Congress president, Pawar said all the political parties seeking to stake claim in forming government in Maharashtra have to “choose their path.” “BJP-Shiv Sena fought together, we (the NCP) and the Congress fought together. They have to choose their path and we will do our politics,” he told reporters before the Winter Session of Parliament began.

The Congress and the NCP have already finalised a draft Common Minimum Programme (CMP) to run a possible coalition government with the Sena, and talks on sharing of power are expected to continue. The Sena has been firm on its demand for the post of chief minister.

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