Pune: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of poaching leaders after at least three leaders jumped ship to the saffron party.
Pawar accused the BJP of “misusing agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax, CBI and ACB to compel leaders from other parties to join them”.
He also accused Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other ministers of the BJP of poaching leaders and said the phenomena was at work in other states such as Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Responding to the allegations, Fadnavis said several Congress and NCP leaders were ready to join the BJP “but a few chosen ones will be inducted”.
“Those involved in an ongoing investigation by ED or any agency won't be inducted. We don't need to invite or chase anyone, people are approaching us,” he said.
The chief minister added: “The BJP has never indulged in politics of pressuring others. In the last five years, the government helped several sugar factories, which were facing difficult times. There is a long list but no one was asked to join the BJP for this. Pawar saheb should introspect.”
Meanwhile, the NCP chief said his party and the Congress had come to an agreement on 240 of the 288 assembly seats in Maharashtra, polls for which are scheduled for later this year.
He also said the Raj Thackeray-led MNS was mulling boycotting the Assembly polls due to reservations about Electronic Voting Machines.
Speaking to reporters here, Pawar added that leaders of both the principal opposition parties would now speak to other groups like the Swambhimani Paksha for the remaining seats. "The NCP and Congress have reached an understanding on 240 seats for the state Assembly elections," he said.
Pawar said seat-sharing talks will be completed and the constituency-wise list of candidates will be readied in the next few days.
Speaking on the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena joining the Congress-NCP alliance, the NCP president said, "I met some MNS leaders in Mumbai. Recently Raj Thackeray met Sonia Gandhi.
“MNS leaders have strong feelings against EVMs and they feel some decision needs to be taken in this regard. The MNS is in favour of boycotting the elections but this is not acceptable to us," he said.
He added that a lot of parties at the national level were against the use of EVMs in elections and the matter is in the court as well. "But no one has reached a decision to boycott the elections," he said.