Ahead of MCA elections, Sharad Pawar & Devendra Fadnavis come together
Keeping their ideological differences and political battles aside, the opposite camp leaders Sharad Pawar and Devendra Fadnavis have come together for cricket ahead of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) elections that is scheduled to be held on Thursday. This move has stirred speculations in some camps about the timing of this association. It comes in the wake of all parties consensus to let the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena’s candidate Rutuja Latke win unopposed in the Andheri (East) bypoll.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis sat at the same dining table, visibly coming together, on Wednesday, for the first time. The event was a dinner party hosted by the Garware Club House at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium for the elite members of Maharashtra politics platform. The MCA dinner was also attended by Uddhav Thackeray’s confidant Milind Narwekar, who is also a member of the MCA.
It is to be noted that NCP chief, who is also former president of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has always tried to keep politics and sports separate. But this event hints otherwise.
In the MCA elections, Pawar and Fadnavis appear to be on the same page and the consensus candidate who will head the cricket body is said to be industrialist Amol Kale, who is a close associate of Fadnavis, hailing from Nagpur, also hometown of the BJP leader. A BJP insider said, “Pawar and Fadnavis’s unity is confined to the MCA. It has nothing to do with politics.” NCP state president Jayant Patil also appears to agree as he said, “We do not mix sports and politics.” But this “sports and politics are not mixed” theory doesn’t seem to be agreed upon by all, including Pawar’s allies in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). The state Congress chief Nana Patole alleges that the decision was linked to some backroom deal between the two sides. “It was part of match-fixing. The BJP heeded Pawar’s appeal in Andheri East to allow the Uddhav-led Shiv Sena an upper hand. In the bargain, Pawar ensured support to the BJP in building consensus for the MCA polls.”