NASHIK: NCP president Sharad Pawar on Thursday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "doob maro" jibe directed at the Opposition in connection with scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a poll rally in Niphad here in North Maharashtra, Pawar asked Modi why he was daring Opposition leaders to bring back Article 370 of the Constitution after it was nullified by Parliament in August.
Pawar also hit out at Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for saying that public sector banks had the "worst phase" under the combination of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan.
The Maratha strongman was a senior member of the Manmohan Singh-led cabinet.
Modi had on Wednesday slammed Opposition leaders, seeking a link between the scrapping of Article 370 and the Maharashtra Assembly polls, and told them to go drown (doob maro) for criticising the nullification of the controversial provision that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
"How can they (Opposition) say that Jammu and Kashmir has nothing to do with Maharashtra? They should be ashamed of such thoughts. Don't they have any shame? Doob maro," the PM had said, using the two-word phrase in Hindi.
Referring to the comment, Pawar said, "Parliament abrogated Article 370. Modi sahib took the initiative. We do not oppose that. Some people kept forth their views on the issue, but they were labelled by some as anti-national. They become anti-nationals?"
"The prime minister yesterday said doob maro. He dares us to bring Article 370 back. It was decided to scrap Article 370, Parliament scrapped it and now why are you now talking about bringing it back?" he questioned.
The former Union minister further said that there were several issues concerning the people, yet BJP leaders were consistently talking about defanging of Article 370.
The only answer BJP leaders had for any of the people's issue was Article 370, Pawar quipped.
On Sitharaman's remark, Pawar said, "Are these people not aware of the tradition of this country? We never criticise the prime minister when abroad. They should also be mindful of this tradition."
Sitharaman had made the remarks while delivering a lecture at the Columbia University in the US.
Pawar targeted the BJP-led government in Maharashtra over farmer suicides and job losses in the state, saying it did not pay attention towards these key issues.
Maharashtra, which has a 288-member Assembly, will vote on October 21 and results will be announced on October 24.