As his “courtesy call” to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari set tongues wagging in political circles, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said only those without a job could think of the government being unstable.
Attacking the BJP for “playing politics” at a time when Maharashtra is reeling under the effects of coronavirus with the dubious distinction of over 50,000 cases, Pawar said, “In such times of a huge crisis, our efforts are to relieve the pain of the people.”
The NCP chief, who also held a meeting with Uddhav Thackeray, rubbished reports that he visited the chief minister’s residence due to rumours about President’s Rule in the state. “We speak every alternate day, there is nothing new. But I hadn't gone to his house since Balasaheb’s demise so I visited him.”
Soon after the meeting, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had said the state government was "strong". He, however, did not reveal what transpired between the two leaders.
Rumours of a potential political upheaval in the state began when former chief minister and Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis complained to the governor about the "failure" of the Thackeray government in handling the Covid-19 crisis.
This was followed by Pawar’s meeting with Koshyari against the backdrop of strained relations between the Shiv Sena, which heads the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, and the Raj Bhavan. The NCP is one of the key constituents of MVA.
Pawar was one of the crucial leaders from Maharashtra who had openly complained about Koshyari's "intervention" in the functioning of the state administration.
Soon after the NCP chief’s visit, senior BJP leader Narayan Rane met Koshyari and reportedly asked for imposing President’s Rule, blaming Thackeray for the government’s inept handling of the coronavirus crisis.
The Sena, a 30-year-old partner of the BJP, deserted the party after Maharashtra election results in October last year. Amid the political scramble to forge new alliances, Fadnavis returned as chief minister with the support of Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar’s nephew, in a late-night swearing-in by Governor Koshyari.
However, the political affair lasted just 72 hours after Pawar reconciled with his nephew and the NCP joined hands with the Sena and the Congress forming the Maha Vikas Aghadi.