Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde today caused a political flutter when he claimed that Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar wanted his party NCP to be the constituent of NDA dispensation following a "dispute" in the Congress-led UPA.
"Sharad Pawar was willing to join NDA, but I opposed it. He was upset following a dispute in the UPA fold," the deputy leader of BJP in Lok Sabha said at a programme in Mazalgaon tehsil near here.
Munde's remarks came against the backdrop of NCP stalwart Praful Patel's statement a few days back wherein he upheld the clean chit given to BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi by a Gujarat court in connection with the 2002 riots.
Patel's statement was later justified by Pawar.
Munde also referred to the purported meeting between Pawar and Modi. Pawar had denied meeting the BJP's PM candidate.
"You see, Pawar is neither denying nor accepting his meeting with Modi," Munde said at the programme on Below Poverty Line (BPL).
He said the state government should improve PDS to "check rampant black-marketing of food grain and kerosene".
"The issue of fixing the criterion for poverty and of preparing BPL list will figure in the NDA manifesto", Munde said.
Congress and NCP -- coalition partners in DF government-- are at the loggerheads over seat-sharing in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
According to some reports, a section in Congress is keen to contest 29 out of total of 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, whereas NCP is firm on the 2009 formula of 26:22.
Congress had contested 26 seats and NCP 22 in 2009 polls.
The NCP backing the clean chit given to Modi is viewed as a smart move by the Sharad Pawar-led party to pressurise Congress in sealing the seat-sharing pact. The BJP leadership had dismissed reports of any move to tie-up with NCP.