Sonia Gandhi’s phone call to Sharad Pawar that preceeded President’s rule in Maharashtra

Radhika Dhawad | Nov 13, 2019 0:28

The one phone call between Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi that changed the political scenario in Maharashtra…

Political tension across the country intensified on Monday after Shiv Sena broke its decades long association with the BJP led NDA and got in talks with the NCP and Congress for government formation in Maharashtra. Just when Maharashtra had almost believed the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance had taken place unofficially, NCP and Congress both failed to submit their respective official letters of support to Shiv Sena before the stipulated time.

Entire Maharashtra watched with bated breath how the Congress and NCP drama unfolded with multiple meetings and phone calls on Monday and Tuesday. The Congress on Tuesday issued a statement claiming that it was ‘still in talks’ with the NCP and hence it hadn’t made any decision on providing outside support to Sena.

It was during such high voltage moments of uncertainty that NCP supremo Sharad Pawar got a telephonic call from Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi. As per reports, it was that one phone call to Pawar at 6 pm amidst the impasse that changed the entire political dynamics in Maharashtra. Around 5 pm on Monday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in his first ever call to Sonia Gandhi, requesting her for outside support, on which Gandhi promised to get back to him after some discussions.

After Gandhi spoke to Thackeray about the Congress providing outside support to the former’s party, she had a word with Pawar on the same in presence of Ahmed Patel, KC Venugopal, AK Antony and Mallikarjun Kharge. Pawar during the communication, expressed some reluctance to go ahead with Shiv Sena, saying it was too early to promise support to the Sena and that many aspects of power sharing still needed to be negotiated with the Sena.

It is said that it was during that time Pawar, just hours before the deadline of government formation came to an end, informed Gandhi that he hadn’t received any outline from Thackeray vis-à-vis government formation. Reportedly, Maharashtra leaders were shocked when Pawar, who himself had asked top Congress leaders to convince Gandhi of extending support to Sena, took a U-turn on supporting Sena.

It was during the same telephonic conversation Gandhi learnt that the NCP was yet to submit its letter of support to the Sena.

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