Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar on Sunday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for choosing to address political rallies in poll bound West Bengal over meeting the protesting farmers.
Pawar, on his maiden visit to Ranchi on Sunday addressing NCP workers at Harmu ground, said that Modi’s decision of addressing rallies in Bengal and avoiding dialogue with the protesting farmers clearly showed his priorities. Farmers from Punjab and Haryana for more than 100 days are sitting on dharna protesting against the three farms laws. The farmers protest is being supported by all non-NDA political parties including Congress, NCP and others.
Pawar said, “The Prime Minister has the time to go to Kolkata and address rallies, but he doesn’t have the time to meet the protesting farmers.”
While Pawar was in Jharkhand Capita on Sunday to strengthen the party’s base in tribal state, Prime Minister today was addressing his first election rally after election dates are announced at historic Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata, making an appeal to dethrone Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who is CM for two terms.
Targeting BJP for playing communal politics, Pawar the former Chief Minister said that communal tension and religious hatred have grown in Country since the Saffron party came to power in Centre. “The NDA government has failed in discharging its duties as religious hatred has gone up in Country as BJP is spewing communal venom in the country,” Pawar added.
Pawar who had donned several caps including Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) boss from 2005-08, also lauded local hero and former team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his contribution to cricket saying that that he felt proud to stand in Dhoni’s hometown and address his party workers.
“When Rahul Dravid decided to step down from captaincy, I asked Sachin Tendulkar to take charge as the captain. But he suggested Dhoni’s name for captaincy. Today, I feel proud that I am standing on the land of one of the greatest cricketers the country has ever produced,” Pawar said.
The NCP leader also took a dig at the Narendra Modi-led Centre over the alleged mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis in India. “What did they do? They asked BJP workers to beat plates. But we don’t beat plates. We try and find ways to get food on our plates,” said Pawar.
The NCP has only one legislator in the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly. However, the party has been working on strengthening its base in the tribal state too. Kamlesh Singh, NCP’s lone MLA in the state from Hussainabad also accompanied Pawar in Ranchi during the party meet. The NCP aims to strengthen its base as a party in alliance with other UPA partner targets to contest three to four Lok Sabha seats, while in Assembly the party target is to contest 10 to 12 assembly seats.
Pawar, sources said, was likely to meet Chief Minister Hemant Soren later in the day and fly back to Mumbai on Sunday evening.