Even as the Sharad Pawar-Congress brinkmanship plays itself out over the next few days, the amusing bit is that everyone has discussed the red herrings instead of the real issue.
We have been told that Pawar was miffed about being denied the No 2 position in cabinet (unlikely), that the Congress treats the NCP as a mere appendage (true, but what can you do if you have very few MPs?), that Pawar's real target is Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan (possible), and that he wants to install nephew Ajit Pawar as CM of Maharashtra and daughter Supriya Sule as a central minister (sure, no harm in dreaming).
However, the reality is that the Congress can easily meet him half-way on at least some of these issues - and Pawar could have ensured some gains for himself and the party without all this public posturing. In fact, he has now held back on his threat to opt out of the UPA altogether - and will probably allow himself to be mollified with soft words from Manmohan Singh and some minor concessions.
Clearly, Pawar knows his gun isn't loaded. Why, then, did he make a public spectacle of it?
The answer could be that Pawar is aware of his own powerlessness in the UPA - and the public airing of grievances was merely intended to assure himself that he was still relevant.
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