Pune, Feb 16: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar on Saturday and shared dais with him and also had a lunch after that, speculations about a possible political realignment in the state started doing rounds in the political corridors.
In his cartoon new cartoon, the two leaders, (Narendra Modi and Sharad Pawar) are seen celebrating Valentine's Day together at lunch.
Though the two leaders insisted that no political meaning should be read into the public bonhomie exhibited by them, much political significance is being attached to their coming together following strains in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s relations with ally Shiv Sena.
Modi, who had while stumping for the Assembly elections in October last year called NCP a "naturally corrupt party" and asked the people to free themselves from the "yoke" of the Pawar family, attended events related to the various establishments run by Sharad Pawar on his home turf.
Modi praised Pawar at a farmers' conclave at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, a Central government undertaking, where he inaugurated a Centre for Excellence for Vegetables and thanked him for inviting him to Baramati.
"As Chief Minister of Gujarat, I faced problems, including those from the Government of India. I then used to call Sharad Rao and he rose above party politics and helped me out. Never a month passed when we didn't talk 2-3 times. For his contribution, I felicitate him here, in Baramati," Modi said.
Mindful of presence of a large media contingent at the event, Modi said, "Today is a special day for the media. They would keenly observe what I said earlier (during polls) and what I say today. This is the beauty of democracy."
"Democracy works on two tracks. The first is of 'vivad' (debate) and second is 'samvad' (communication). We are in different political parties with different agenda, but for us country is above party and statesmanship is above politics," he said.
"But, in our country, the meeting of two leaders makes big news. The communication (between leaders) should never stop and in this those in power have a greater responsibility," Modi said.
Pawar, too, sought to clarify that their appearance together was for development and that political motives should not be attributed.
"We may fight in politics for two days. But for the rest 363 days we should be devoted to development. We are always ready to support you in all your development initiatives," he said.
Earlier, after Shiv Sena and RSS targeted BJP for poll drubbing in Delhi Assembly elections, MNS also took a dig at the Saffron party by creating cartoon.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray has shown BJP's top bosses i.e. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah as twin towers being attacked by AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal. The cartoon also shows US President Barack Obama watching BJP's drubbing on TV.
Reacting to the cartoon, Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar had said, "Raj Thackerayji has found a way to hog limelight (after his party's poor show in Maharashtra Assembly poll). His cartoon has grabbed attention. (He) should do it full-time."
(With inputs from agencies)