Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has declared in unequivocal terms that the BJP’s central leadership has no tacit electoral understanding with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar regarding Baramati parliamentary constituency. “Don’t be misled by any talk,” she told her party workers. Sitharaman was interacting with BJP workers of Baramati Lok Sabha constituency, a fiefdom of the Pawar family for decades. She has been entrusted with the responsibility of the seat for 2024. She was trying to dispel the widespread impression that Pawar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s camaraderie had prevented any serious BJP attempt to wrest the constituency from the powerful political family. This sentiment was articulated by Daund MLA Rahul Kul, who told Sitharaman bluntly that such signals affected the enthusiasm among the party workers. The finance minister replied that her mission was to strengthen the BJP and hence she was not concerned for any particular family. Sitharaman advised the BJP workers to comb all six assembly segments of the constituency to spread the Union government’s message about the various welfare schemes. She blamed Pawar for ignoring genuine problems of grape growers when he was India’s agriculture minister. “Our colleague Nitin Gadkari led a farmers’ delegation to me and the grievance was resolved,” she recalled. Pawar’s daughter Supriya won the last LS election by a slim margin and the victory was attributed to Modi’s decision to skip the constituency from his campaign tour.