Amid speculation over his candidature for the post of President, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday held a 50-minute meeting with PM Narendra Modi. Pawar said no politics was discussed, and has already denied running for the post of President or Prime Minister. For its part, the PMO tweeted, “Rajya Sabha MP Shri Sharad Pawar met @narendramodi @PawarSpeaks.” The meeting has come two days ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament.
On Friday, Pawar had held back-to-back meetings with Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and former defence minister AK Anthony, where Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat was also present. The newly-appointed Leader of House in the Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal also called on Pawar.
Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has categorically denied any possibility of coming together with the BJP, citing different ideologies. “The NCP and the BJP are two ends of the river and cannot come together as long as there is water in the river,” said NCP chief spokesman and state minister of minority affairs Nawab Malik.
On the topic of his meeting with the PM, Sharad Pawar said that in a six-page letter he has raised objections against the amendments carried out last year to the Banking Regulation Act. He said he has drawn the PM’s attention towards issues and conflicts in the wake of certain developments in the cooperative banking sector.
“Although the objects and reasons for amending the Banking Regulation Act can be lauded, I wish to point out certain inconsistencies and the resulting legal inefficacy of normative provisions of the Act that are in conflict, most specifically, with the 97 Constitutional Amendments, State Cooperative Societies Acts and with the Cooperative Principles,” he said.
Pawar said he has reiterated in the letter that the aims and objectives of the amended Act are well-intentioned, and many provisions are necessary. “The erring board and management must definitely be acted upon strictly and the depositors’ interests should be protected, but at the same time it should be ensured that while doing so, the Cooperative Principles laid down in the Constitution are not sacrificed at the altar of overzealous regulation.”
The NCP chief said the Reserve Bank of India on the basis of various newly-introduced impugned provisions was directly intervening into the functioning of the affairs of the cooperative banks.
“Therefore, I opine that the said impugned provisions are unconstitutional, for having been passed without legislative competence,” he claimed. He further stated that the amendments were intruding into the state’s rights as cooperative banks are under the ambit of the state government.
Pawar said the amended Act overrules various provisions of the Cooperative Act in regard to the formation of the board and the election of chairman, appointment of the managing director by holding a caveat in terms of such appointments. He also took objection against the provisions relating to the appointment of auditors, completion of audit, terms of board of directors, removal of the CEO and supersession of board.
No truck with BJP, clarifies NCP
As the Modi-Pawar meeting made headlines, another bit of news started doing the rounds about former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis reportedly meeting Pawar in New Delhi.
Denying the development, Malik said, “Sharad Pawar has had only three meetings. One with Piyush Goyal, another with Rajnath Singh and the third with PM Modi. There was no meeting with Devendra Fadnavis.”
Asked if there was a possibility of a tie-up between the NCP and the BJP, Malik denied it. “… The nationalism of RSS and NCP is different, but protocols need to be maintained,” said Malik.
Further, Malik said that the Congress general secretary HK Patil was told about this scheduled meeting when he and other Congress leaders met Pawar in Mumbai recently. “Even Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was apprised of this meeting,” he added.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the meeting between Modi and Pawar had no political links as they share an old bond. He clarified that the meeting should not be viewed from a political perspective.