Pawar is also targeted by Fadnavis, Uddhav Thackeray and saffron alliance leaders
Even though the verbal duel between the ruling partners Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena have become a thing of the past following alliance between the two in Maharashtra, the saffron parties including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi are engaged in brawls during the ongoing campaigning for the Lok Sabha election. Pawar has been the target as he has been at the forefront to unit secular and like minded parties against BJP at the national and state level. Modi and Pawar taking pot shots against each other will go on till the four phase polling comes to end on April 29 in Maharashtra.
It was PM Modi, who at his rally in Wardha, attacked Pawar saying that the former union minister has lost grip over his party and that a “family feud” had struck it. Further, Modi went on to add that hat Ajit Pawar has control of the family and that the Pawar family is no longer united. He also said that Pawar senior decided not to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls after realising that the situation was not in his favour.
An angry Pawar returned Modi’s jibe saying that ”A person who does not have any experience of a family nor any idea where his family is presently is trying to inquire into (that of) others.” Further, “I would like to tell him that we brothers were raised in a cultured atmosphere and our mother gave us virtues,” the NCP chief said. In another rally, Modi took a dig at NCP leaders saying their sleep is depend on Tihar jail.
Pawar sought to return the fire by retaliating Modi’s criticism. ”I did not heed criticism by “every Tom, Dick and Harry.” NCP chief further stated he does not mess with anyone on his own, but “shows the place” to someone who does so.
Modi attacked Congress saying that no development took place in the country in the past 70 years.
However, Pawar showered praise over former Congress Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi for their respective contribution towards nation building.
Pawar said the present prime minister uses valour shown by security forces for his campaigning. ”BJP led government at the Centre has been unable to ensure even the release of Kulbhushan Jadhav. Where has the 56-inch chest gone?” asked Pawar.Further, Modi criticised the UPA government for communicating with Pakistan after a terror attack and had asked the government to stop writing love letters to that country.
Pawar cornered Modi on the present state of security especially at the borders. ”In 2014, there were 267 attacks. In 2015, there were 208 and in 2016, the number of attacks was 218. Where is the 56-inch chest?” Pawar taunted.
Modi attacked Pawar for joining forces with the National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir. Modi asked if it behoved Pawar to side with the NC which has sought a separate prime minister for Jammu and Kashmir.
However, Pawar reminded Modi that the Farooq Abdullah-led party was an ally of the BJP in the past. He also said that Modi labelled everyone who goes against him as “terrorist” terming it ”This is Modi’s policy.”
Modi in another rally asked Pawar had done during his tenure as the Defence Minister between 1991 and 1991 when he was in the Congress.
Hitting back, Pawar said he did not allow attacks to take place in country as was the case under the Modi government’s watch.
It is not just Modi alone who is firing salvos against Pawar but the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, the revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, the food and civil supplies minister Girish Bapat and several others.
Fadnavis attacked Pawar saying that the captain of the team against the BJP has already refused to play. “The BJP is fighting such opponents in Bhandara-Gondiya (Lok Sabha constituency) whose captain has refused to play at the very beginning,” he said. CM was apparently referring to Pawar’s decision to not contest the elections amidst speculations that he might enter the poll fray from Madha seat.
Thackeray asked BJP not to induct Pawar in its fold while referring to BJP’s red carpet to opposition leaders. The Shiv Sena president criticised Pawar for “destroying” Maharashtra during his long political career.
Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, who is quite close to Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, alleged that even though Pawar is claiming himself to be a national leader, his focus is restricted to four Lok Sabha seats Baramati, Madha, Satara and Kolhapur. He further added that Pawar has been making desperate attempts to maintain his national stature. He claimed that it would be difficult for Pawar to find a bungalow in New Delhi after the completion of Lok Sabha election due to his party’s drubbing.
Food and Civil Supplies Minister Girish Bapat, who is BJP nominee from Pune seat, claimed that NCP was not a political party but company run by Pawar. He further noted that NCP is being marginalised day by day and it should be defeated.