Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared the stage with NCP chief Sharad Pawar at an award ceremony on Tuesday. Visuals from the event showed the duo exchanging jovial banter as members of Maharashtra’s ruling coalition – including his estranged nephew Ajit Pawar – looked on. Pawar was also seen patting Modi’s back as the two spoke ahead of the ceremony.

The event had sparked debate in the Opposition ranks with many voicing concern that PM Modi sharing the stage with Sharad Pawar would send out the wrong message. While the senior politician had refused to entertain requests to avoid the event he appeared to take a swipe at the PM during his address. 

“Shivaji Maharaj never snatched anyone’s land,” he said, seemingly a reference to allegations that the BJP orchestrated splits in Shiv Sena and NCP.  

This incidentally was the first time that Modi and Pawar were meeting since his nephew led a rebellion and joined the BJP and Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government last month.

Prime Minister Modi received the Lokmanya Tilak National Award in Pune today. The event was also attended by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his two Deputies. After receiving the award, the PM said he would donate the prize money to the Namami Gange project.

The PM also flagged off metro services and laid the foundation stone of various projects worth 15,000 crore.

“Today, trust surplus is seen both in policies and hard work of the people in the country. In the last nine years, the people of India laid the foundations of big developments and made big transformations possible, and that is why India became the fifth largest economy in the world. It is the people of India who made it happen,” Modi said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 01 Aug 2023, 07:15 PM IST

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