Amid Opposition’s attempt to corner the Narendra Modi-led Central government over the Pegasus snooping reports, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Sharad Pawar has invited Union home minister Amit Shah to visit Vasantdada Sugar Institute in Pune, which is being run by the cooperative sugar industry in Maharashtra. Shah is likely to visit Pune next month.
The Central government recently formed a cooperation ministry and Shah has been appointed as the first Union cooperation minister of the country.
On Tuesday, Pawar had a meeting with the Union home minister in Delhi, which fuelled speculations. Later, in a series of tweets, Pawar said that he brought to Shah’s notice the two most emergent and severe issues such as the minimum support price (MSP) and permissions to set up ethanol manufacturing units within the premises of sugar mills.
“When the Union home minister informed NCP chief that he is likely to visit Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Management (an institute in Pune that comes under the cooperation ministry), Pawar saheb said if you’re coming to Pune then you’re also invited to Vasantdada Sugar Institute,” said a senior NCP leader, requesting anonymity.
Pawar had met Shah in Delhi when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had called a breakfast meeting with Opposition leaders over the alleged Pegasus snooping controversy.
However, this is not the first time that one of the senior-most Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders would be visiting Vasantdada Sugar Institute. In the past, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi and former finance minister late Arun Jaitley have visited the institute on Pawar’s invitation. Gandhi, too, had visited the institute.
On July 17, Pawar met PM Modi in Delhi to discuss the amendments made by the Centre in the Banking Regulation Act to limit the rights of cooperative banks.
After the NCP chief’s meetings with PM and Shah, party spokesperson Nawab Malik on Tuesday issued a clarification and said NCP and BJP share different ideologies. “Both are like two opposite sides of a river and their alliance is impossible till they are bound to their ideologies,” said Malik.