NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday alleged that the BJP-led central government would not have taken a decision to repeal the three contentious farm laws if there were no elections in Uttar Pradesh and other states in the near future. Speaking to reporters at Mahabaleshwar in Satara district, he again asserted that the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra will complete its full five-year term, and expressed confidence that if elections are held now, the three-party alliance will once again come to power.
Pawar was speaking to reporters before attending the NCP’s youth wing convention. Last Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made an announcement about withdrawing the three agricultural laws, which faced strident protests on Delhi borders and elsewhere. Replying to a query about it, the former Union agriculture minister said the move was announced in view of the upcoming elections in UP and other neighbouring states.
”There are elections in UP and other neighbouring states. As per our information, the people in power, when they visited the villages in some parts of these states, they got some different kind of reception from the locals. Considering this, they might have sensed what kind of treatment they will get when they go to seek votes. It seems that on that backdrop, this practical decision was taken,” he said. ”If there were no elections in these states in the near future, this decision would not have been taken,” he added. When asked about Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil’s reported remark that the state government will change in the new year, Pawar said that after the MVA government of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, was formed two years ago, a claim was made that it will collapse in 15 days. ”But later it was heard that it will fall in one month, two months, three months and so on,” he said.
”Since Patil has time, he is trying his hands at astrology and on the basis of that, he must be drawing such conclusions. Let him enjoy it. However, this government will complete its five-year term and if we decide to go together in polls, it (the MVA alliance) will once again come to power,” the NCP supremo asserted.
On a query about the actions taken by the central agencies in Maharashtra, Pawar said it is not a new thing. ”I recently met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. There are six to seven ministers from her government who are currently being harassed by the central agencies. I am going to meet her in Mumbai in the next few days.” He added that the BJP government at the Centre has taken a stand to ”harass” non-BJP states by using agencies and the same is being witnessed in Maharashtra. ”Let them conduct inquiries. Nothing will come out. This is the finest example of the misuse of power by the people in power,” he added.
Asked about former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh submitting in the court through his lawyer that there was threat to his life in Maharashtra, Pawar said that he was shocked after reading it. ”What to say if a person who worked on several key positions in Maharashtra police department that he is scared of his colleagues and the state police,” he added. On Monday, Singh’s lawyer told the Supreme Court that the IPS officer was in hiding as he faced “threat to his life if he returns to Maharashtra”. Issuing notice to the CBI and the Maharashtra government on Singh’s plea that the entire matter involving him and the former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh should be investigated by the CBI, the apex court protected him from arrest in criminal cases lodged against him in the state. On the ongoing strike by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) employees, he said the financial condition of the corporation is bad. ”Since its inception, the ST (state transport) was self-reliant, but of late, the condition of the utility turned bad. The state government had to give Rs 500 crore to it,” he said.
Pawar added that a meeting was organised, in which talks was held on improving the financial condition of the MSRTC.
Speaking about the demand of its employees to merge the MSRTC into the state government, he said a committee has been formed by the high court on the issue of various demands, including the merger. ”I read the statement of Transport Minister Anil Parab that the state government will consider the recommendations of the committee seriously, so the issue of the merger is currently pending before the HC committee and I do not want to speak on that issue,” he said.
There are a total of 96,000 employees with the MSRTC, Pawar said, adding, ”If the formula of the merger is accepted for these employees, it will be applied to the staff of other departments, who are not government employees but are associated with government services,” he said.
There are 15 to 16 other departments whose staffers are not government employees, but are associated with that respective services, he said. ”If we want to consider all these employees together for the merger, then perhaps, the government will have to run for such purpose only and there will be doubt if the funds will be available for development projects.
He said the salaries given to their respective transport utility employees by states- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, were compared and during the comparison, it was found that the salaries given by Gujarat are lower than that are given in Maharashtra, whereas all other states pay wages higher than Maharashtra. Pawar said he has come to know that the state government has taken a positive decision to end the ongoing stalemate.
Asked about the involvement of political parties in the agitation, Pawar said when a group of people go on a strike or hit the streets for some demands, it is an opportunity for the opposition to see if they can add more fuel to that agitation.
Speaking about the defeat of MLC and NCP leader Shashikant Shinde in the Satara District Central Cooperative Bank elections and the subsequent stone-pelting by his followers at the NCP office in Satara on Tuesday, Pawar said Shinde should have taken the elections seriously.
Talking about the NCP’s youth wing convention, Pawar said the new generation needs to be shown what kind of strictures one has to follow while running a coalition government.