In a huge blow to NCP leader Sharad Pawar, one of his key party colleagues and Lok Sabha MP, Tariq Anwar, on Friday dropped a bombshell by resigning from the party and the parliament to protest the former’s defence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal.
In a press statement issued by Anwar, he said, “Aggrieved by the statement of NCP President Mr Sharad Pawar shielding Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rafale deal, NCP National General Secretary and Leader of the party in the Lok Sabha Mr Tariq Anwar today resigned from party’s primary membership.”
Later, Anwar was quoted by news agency ANI as saying, “Our (NCP) national president Sharad Pawar indirectly gave a clean chit to PM, in a statement on the Rafale deal. The prime minister is completely involved in the deal. The opposition is demanding constitution of JPC for probe in it. I’m upset with his statement.”
Speaking to a Marathi channel, Pawar had fiercely defended Modi, exonerating him of any corruption in the Rafale deal. He had said, “There is no doubt in public minds about Modi’s intentions in the Rafale deal, that’s what I feel.”
BJP President Amit Shah was quick to thank Pawar for his support to Modi on the Rafale deal. He had tweeted, “I thank Shri @PawarSpeaks Ji, a former Defence Minister and veteran MP, for placing national interests above party politics and speaking the truth. Dear @RahulGandhi, you would be wiser by believing your own ally and a leader of Pawar Saheb’s stature.”
The NCP is an ally of the Congress in Maharashtra, but the Pawar’s party is a part of the BJP-led government in Goa.
Anwar had left the Congress in the late 90s protesting against the foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi when she took over the president of the AICC. He, along with PA Sangma and Pawar had gone on to form an independent party, the Nationalist Congress Party.