As Cracks Appear in Maharashtra Alliance Over Elgar Parishad Probe & NPR, Sharad Pawar to Meet NCP Ministers Today
File photo of NCP chief Sharad Pawar
New Delhi: Amid the difference of opinion among Maharashtra allies over the Elgar Parishad probe and NPR, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar has called a meeting of all ministers of his party on Monday.
Cracks in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi — alliance of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress — first appeared when Pawar, in his first criticism of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray after their government in Maharashtra came to office in November, said the Sena chief was wrong in letting the NIA take over the probe into the Elgar Parishad case from the state police.
Pawar expressed his unhappiness on Thackeray's decision on a day when a Pune court passed an order to transfer the Elgar Parishad case to a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Mumbai. The court also said the order of investigation by the central agency cannot be said to be illegal or improper.
Pawar said it was not right on the part of the Centre to hand over the probe into the case, which was with the Pune police, to the NIA as law and order was a state subject. "It was not right for the Centre to hand over the investigation into the case to the NIA. But it was even more wrong for the state government to support the transfer of the case," said Pawar.
NCP leader and state home minister Anil Deshmukh said Thackeray had overruled him on the case. The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government had initially criticised the Centre's move to hand over the case to the NIA.
The fissures widened further when Thackeray gave his assent to National Population Register (NPR) in the state in a snub to allies NCP and Congress. Sources told News18 that chief minister Thackeray was keen to implement NPR in Maharashtra from May 1, even though the NCP and Congress remain opposed to the exercise.
While the Congress has earlier held that National Population Register is nothing but "NRC in disguise", the NCP too said it had made its reservations with the exercise clear.
Speaking to CNN-News18, Majeed Memon of the NCP said: “It is clear that the party is not supporting NPR. [Chief] Sharad Pawar has made it clear. The ultimate decision has to be accepted by all three parties.”
The three parties came together after the Sena’s bitter divorce with its long-time ally BJP over the chief minister’s position after the Maharashtra elections. However, critics question the longevity of the alliance, given the differing ideological stands of the parties.