Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday accused the BJP of pulling down democratically installed governments in states not ruled by it while talking about providing political stability, and said the policy of current rulers is to widen the rift in society using caste, religion and language as tools.
Addressing the ‘Swabhiman Rally’ in Beed, the home district of rebel NCP leader and Agriculture Minister Dhananjay Munde, Sharad Pawar said MLAs who won elections against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and later changed sides and aligned with the saffron outfit will be taught a lesson by voters.
His comments came in the backdrop of a section of MLAs from his own party and those from the Shiv Sena joining hands with the BJP in the last one year. Out of the four NCP MLAs from Beed district in central Maharashtra, three have joined the rebel faction led by deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, including Dhananjay Munde. The fourth MLA, Sandip Kshirsagar, is in the Sharad Pawar camp.
The NCP founder slammed the Centre over the ethnic violence in Manipur.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have gone to Manipur and understood the pain of people in the north-eastern state which has witnessed deadly ethnic clashes since early May.
“Manipur is among those north-eastern states which share international borders. The policy of neighbouring countries like China and Pakistan is not good….we need to be cautious,” said the former defence minister.
Sharad Pawar said Manipur has seen large-scale violence and arson in the last few months.
“Differences were created among villages, society…houses were set ablaze. When houses in Manipur were burning, the Prime Minister should have visited the state. He talked about Manipur for just three minutes before the Monsoon session of Parliament started. Later, during the debate on the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, he spoke on Manipur for 4 to 5 minutes. The PM didn’t try to understand the pain of women from Manipur,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.
He said PM Modi is following into the footsteps of his party colleague and Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis by including a ‘mi punha yein’ (I’ll come back again) element in his Independence Day speech.
“Fadnavis did not return as Chief Minister (after 2019 assembly polls), but came back at a lower position (as deputy CM in June 2022 after fall of the MVA government). One wonders what will he (PM Modi) return as,” he quipped.
PM Modi, during his Independence Day speech, had asserted that he will come back to the Red Fort to address the nation on August 15 next year, too, implying the BJP-led NDA alliance will win the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Attacking the BJP, the former Union minister said, “The policy of the current rulers is to widen the wedge in society using caste, religion and language as tools. The government doesn’t think about the welfare of people who are doing hard work.” The veteran politician accused the BJP of toppling duly elected governments in opposition-ruled states even as it talked out about providing a stable government at the Centre.
“You talk of providing a stable government but break duly elected governments in states. Governments elected by people in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh were pulled down,” Sharad Pawar said.
The NCP leader said the BJP-led government at the Centre does not talk about important issues, including rise in prices of essential commodities.
“There are many important issues, but the government doesn’t talk about them. There is the issue of inflation…fuel prices. Prices of fertilizers have gone up. Agriculture is facing problems but the government doesn’t care about the sector,” said the former Union agriculture minister.
Targeting the BJP-led central government, he alleged opposition leaders are being imprisoned without any valid reason.
“There is misuse of power and leaders are being put behind bars on flimsy grounds. If there is unity, it will not take much time to overthrow such a power (current government),” he said.
Sharad Pawar also talked about the death of 18 patients in a span of 24 hours last weekend in a civic-run hospital in Thane district, the political turn of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
“Eighteen patients lost their lives in a government hospital in Thane recently, but the state government remained a mute spectator. We can see where the state is now heading,” he said.
Sharad Pawar (82) claimed a prominent member of the Ajit Pawar faction who has joined the state government, citing the advanced age of the NCP president, said “we should think of a new leader”.
“If you want to go with those in power, you are free to do so, but think about those who have given you something in life. If you don’t do this, people will teach you a lesson,” Sharad Pawar said, apparently targeting the rebel NCP leaders.
Speaking at the rally, state NCP president Jayant Patil (Sharad Pawar group) said MLAs of ruling parties are taking our rallies in Maharashtra and saying “Hindus are in danger”.
“The people in the government say this government is driven by Hindutva ideology. If this is the case, then how come Hindus are in danger,” said the former state minister.
Patil attacked the central government over the latest CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) report.
“The central government says they have ended corruption. But the CAG has brought out seven scams of this government. The cost of Dwarka Expressway (between Delhi and Gurugram) has increased by 14 times as per the CAG report,” he said.
Former Maharashtra ministers Rajesh Tope, Jitendra Awhad and Anil Deshmukh, and NCP MLA Rohit Pawar, the grandnephew of Sharad Pawar, were prominent among those present at the rally.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)