MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena stirred a hornet's nest on Sunday with its mouthpiece Saamna claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had offered NCP chief Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule, an MP, a berth in the Union Cabinet.
In a signed article in Saamna on Sunday, Shiv Sena strategist Sanjay Raut referred to his recent meeting with Pawar. When the Sena MP sought to know if the NCP was set to join the BJP-led NDA, Pawar blamed the media for spreading canards about his party. Pawar, according to Raut, then recalled his meeting with Modi. "The PM told me that he wanted Supriya in the Union Cabinet," Raut quoted the Maratha strongman as saying. According to Raut, Pawar added that Supriya— who was also present at the meeting with the PM—told Modi that she would be the last person to go with the BJP.
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Raut maintained that whatever Pawar might say, the state leaders of the NCP are in contact with the BJP. Pawar and Sule had no comments to offer on the Saamna piece.
The Sena's claim, on the same day that finance minister Arun Jaitley and CM Devendra Fadnavis attended a public function in Pune with Pawar, has heightened speculation in state political circles that the BJP is going all out to woo the NCP into its fold.
On Sunday, Jaitley praised Pawar saying he had never heard a negative statement coming from him. "I have seen him for many years. When it comes to thinking of the country's interest, Pawar has always gone beyond politics," he said.
Sources in the state BJP said that both Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah are upset over Sena's non-stop diatribe against the BJP and the Modi-Fadnavis regimes.
Taking a dig at Modi and Shah for poaching on opposition parties, Raut said, "By inducting all and sundry into the party fold, the BJP is fast emerging as the modern-day avatar of the Congress party."