NCP chief Pawar meets PM Modi over Ministry of Cooperation, farmers' issues

Sharad Pawar meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi
NCP chief Sharad Pawar meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Saturday, July 17, 2021. PTI

New Delhi: NCP president Sharad Pawar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Saturday and both the leaders held talks on a number of issues including the Banking Amendments Act and the cooperative sector in a nearly hour-long meeting.

The Prime Minister's Office tweeted a picture of their meeting but shared no details about their talks.

In a tweet, Pawar said, "Met the Hon'ble Prime Minister of our country Narendra Modi. Had a discussion on various issues of national interest."

The meeting comes two days before parliament's Monsoon session which is set to start on Monday.

Later, Pawar tweeted a letter he wrote to the prime minister about the amendment in the Banking Act.

"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 97th Constitutional Amendment, State Cooperative Societies Acts and with the Cooperative Principles.

"I reiterated in the letter that the aims and objectives of the amended Act are well-intentioned and many provisions are necessary. 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 over-zealous regulation," Pawar tweeted.

This letter comes days after the Centre formed a new Ministry of Cooperation which is headed by senior BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah. The cooperative sector is movement is well entrenched in states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.

The NCP said that Sharad Pawar's meeting with Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi was a scheduled one to discuss amendments to the Banking Regulation Act, among other things, and the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies were aware of it.

NCP spokesperson and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik said that AICC general secretary H K 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.

A veteran leader widely recognised for his political acumen, Pawar is the main architect of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra and is seen as a lynchpin for any future opposition alliance against the BJP.

Squabble among alliance partners over one issue or another has often come to the fore, with state Congress president Nana Patole's frequent digs at other two partners - the Shiv Sena and the NCP - making news of late.

The 80-year-old leader is also known for his warm relations with politicians across party affiliations. Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Piyush Goyal had met Pawar on Friday.

Singh had briefed Pawar, who has been a defence minister earlier, on the border row involving China, Goyal had met him as part of the government's outreach to opposition leaders before the start of the monsoon session.

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