Pandharpur: Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and MLA Gopichand Padalkar slammed Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar terming him as the ‘corona infection of Maharashtra’. Continuing his criticism, Padalkar also said that Pawar has always played divisive politics.
Padalkar was addressing media persons on the issue of reservation for the Dhangar community in the state.
Padalkar said, “Sharad Pawar has been the head of the state, but he has always done injustice to the Bahujan community. Pawar has no ideology. His strategy is to instigate small community groups, compel them to side with him and then do injustice to them. He doesn’t want to give reservation to the Dhangar community, but wants to play politics over it.”
Padalkar also criticised Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over his decision not to allow ‘warkaris’ participate in the annual Aashadhi Ekadashi Mahapuja at the Vitthal-Rukmini temple in Pandharpur. “If warkaris, maharajs and other people entry is banned in Pandharpur then CM Thackeray will also be stopped from entering the town and temple,” Padalkar said.
“Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was stopped from performing the Mahapuja at the Pandharpur temple during the Maratha Morcha agitation. Fadnavis had performed the puja while staying at his home that time at the Varsha bungalow. Thackeray should also do the same instead of coming down to Pandharpur. If ‘Maharaj’ devotees are not allowed to come and stay in Pandharpur citing fear of coronavirus spread, then Thackeray should also be banned as he is coming from a corona hotspot of Mumbai. Instead of the Chief Minister, a common farmer should be allowed to perform the Mahapuja. It will send a right message to the public,” Padalkar said.
Speaking on Dhangar community reservation issue, Padalkar said, “Fadnavis government had declared Rs 1000 crore package for the Dhangar community. The Thackeray government has not yet given a single rupee. The package includes five hostels and provision to help students, but the government is not willing to help them. Government is taking a different stand for different communities on reservation issues. Our issue is pending in court, but why is the government not appointing a lawyer to represent us. We will raise these questions in the assembly session.”
NCP demands apology; threatens state-wide agitation
NCP Spokesperson Ankush Kakade said, “We protest the statement given by BJP leader Gopichand Padalkar. Sharad Pawar is a senior politician and respected by all in the country. In politics, we can have differences of opinion, but one should not give below-the-belt statements. BJP claims to be a disciplined and well-cultured party, and we will now watch what action the party takes against Padalkar. If MLA Padalkar does not apologise, then NCP workers will stop him wherever he is in Maharashtra and question him. NCP city unit will also protest on Thursday (June 25) at the Lokmanya Tilak statue near Mandai on this issue. Our workers will maintain social distancing during the protests.”