Two days ahead of monsoon session, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. The meeting lasted for about 50 minutes. In a series of tweets after the meeting, Mr Pawar says, he met the PM to discuss issues and conflicts in the wake of certain developments in the co-operative banking sector.
He says, "Although the objects and reasons for amending the Act can be lauded, 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 co-operative societies acts and with the co-operative principles."
There is a conflict with provisions of state cooperative societies act, the NCP chief says in his letter to the PM, adding, "The powers bestowed on the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to deal with matters pertaining to issuance and refund of share capital, appointment or disqualification of directors, constitution of board of management, appointment of chief executive (CEO), and audit obligations can be construed as excessive legislation. The amended act overrules various provisions of the cooperative act regarding the formation of the board and election of chairman, appointment of managing director by holding a caveat in terms of such appointments."
"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 co-operative principles laid down in the constitution are not sacrificed at the altar of over-zealous regulation," the chief of NCP added.
Mr Pawar says, "Needless to say, the Reserve Bank is already vested with powers at its disposal to take strict action against the board and management of erring banks. However, I personally feel that any excessive power given to the regulator without any checks and balance seems to be unnecessary and interfering with the autonomous functioning of cooperative banks and run the risk of being misused."
The meeting took place amid reports over fissures in the MahaVikasAghadi (MVA) coalition government in Maharashtra.
On 13th July, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had said that he has always been against the Congress and the NCP politically.
The Congress party and Sharad Pawar's NCP are part of the MVA and allies of Mr Thackeray's Shiv Sena.
"Politically, I have been against Congress and the NCP, but this does not mean that I will call their good work in the government wrong. Neither I nor Balasaheb Thackeray thought this," the CM had said.
Further, it has been observed that Shiv Sena has been seen warming up to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - its former alliance partner. Maharashtra's former chief minister Devendra Fadanavis had said that the BJP and Shiv Sena are 'not enemies', and the two parties only have a difference of opinions.
However, Nawab Malik, NCP's chief spokesperson and Maharashtra’s minister for minority development, aukaf, skill development and entrepreneurship, says, many people are trying to mislead about the meeting between his party chief and the prime minister and coming together of BJP and his party.
"It is being said that Maharashtra opposition leaders met Mr Pawar in the background of his meetings with PM and defence minister. It is false that there has been a meeting between Pawar sahab and opposition leaders (BJP) from Maharashtra in Delhi. BJP and NCP are two ends of a river, the two cannot come together if there is water in the river. We are completely different, ideologically and politically," he clarified.