Don't chant my name; speak on economy, farmers: Pawar to BJP
NCP president Sharad Pawar on Friday criticised top BJP leaders, including Amit Shah and the prime minister, for repeatedly using his name in campaign speeches in poll-bound Maharashtra and said they must speak about issues related to economy and farmers.
Pune: NCP president Sharad Pawar on Friday criticised top BJP leaders, including Amit Shah and the prime minister, for repeatedly using his name in campaign speeches in poll-bound Maharashtra and said they must speak about issues related to economy and farmers.
The top issue on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shah and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's campaign agenda is 'Sharad Pawar', he said.
Without naming Shah at a poll rally in Uruli Kanchan near here, Pawar reiterated the "jail" jibe, saying those who were "inside" are now running the country's administration, but added he has no complaint as one has his/her rights in democracy.
Pawar said the NCP welcomed scrapping of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and asked the Centre to also invalidate Article 371 that disallows buying of land in north-eastern states, including Nagaland and Meghalaya.
The former defence minister accused Modi of seeking mileage out of valour shown by security forces during the Balakot air strike, carried out after the Pulwama terror strike in February, during the April-May Lok Sabha polls.
In a veiled attack at Shah, the NCP veteran said, "There is a 'big' person, quite 'big'. Did you get who it is? He has come from Gujarat. He is experienced. He was in a jail in Maharashtra for five-six months."
"The one who is second-in-command...The home minister should have that experience, how is it inside (the jail) and outside," the NCP chief said sarcastically.
"And the ones who were inside are running the country's administration. It is a good thing, they have right in democracy. I have no complaint," Pawar added.
Pawar said he was not contesting the Assembly polls and had long back announced that he would not be part of electoral politics.
Yet, he was the number one talking point for Modi, Shah and Fadnavis, the Maratha strongman said.
"Wherever they go, (they only talk about) Sharad Pawar, Sharad Pawar, Sharad Pawar. I am going to tell them sometime, that you have been chanting my name all the time, you may chant my name while asleep too, this may cause some suspicion in the minds of people in your home," Pawar said.
Pawar took a dig at Shah for asking him to clarify whether he was for or against scrapping of Article 370.
In his poll rallies in Maharashtra, the BJP chief has been repeatedly asking Pawar to clarify his stand on defanging of Article 370.
"He (Shah) is asking me to clarify stand on Article 370. But did I create any disturbance in Parliament (when Article 370 was discussed in August). Then how can you ask such a question? He must speak on issues related to the country's economy and farmers," Pawar said.
The former Union minister said the NCP did not oppose the scrapping of Article 370, but had only said the people in Jammu and Kashmir should have had been taken into confidence before taking the decision.
"Despite that Amit Shah said in Jat (in Sangli), Pawar Sahab jawab do. Now what answer should I give? The Parliament has records of whether I opposed it or not, you inquire whether I was present there. But they have nothing else to tell (the people)," Pawar said.
The NCP chief asked the BJP-led central government to take steps to scrap Article 371 and added that his party will support any such move.
"But they don't want to do it. They just want to seek political mileage out of the decision taken (on Article 370)," Pawar said.
Price rise, unemployment and agrarian crisis are main concerns of common people, the former chief minister said.
Pawar said wrong policies of the BJP-led government are responsible for the growing unemployment in the state.
"The Congress-NCP government had established industries in Shirur. But now the youth is becoming jobless in Pimpri-Chinchwad (an industrial town in Pune district) due to government policies," he said.
Maharashtra, which has a 288-member assembly, will vote on October 21 and results will be announced three days later.