Sharad Pawar recalls PM's 2016 ‘holding finger’ comment; says Modi's stand now 'different'

01:34 PM Apr 08, 2024 | PTI |

NCP (SP) president Sharad Pawar on Monday recalled a 2016 statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi about having come into politics holding the former’s finger and expressed surprise over the PM taking a ”different stand” now.


Speaking at a gathering in Baramati Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra’s Pune district ahead of the parliamentary polls, Pawar also took a dig at PM Modi for ”personal attacks” and for taking action against those who have different ideologies.

”When I was Union agriculture minister, I helped Gujarat tremendously when Modi was the state’s CM. I didn’t see which party he belonged to. I saw that farmers in his state needed to be made happy and so I helped him,” he said.

”One day he told me he wants to come to Baramati. In his speech then he said: Pawar saheb had held my finger and taught me to do whatever (developmental) work I have done so far. But today he is taking a different view,” the NCP (SP) chief said. If someone makes personal criticism or takes a different stand, he is jailed, Pawar said and cited the cases of former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

”Is this democracy? No, it is dictatorship,” he said.


”If power goes into the hands of an individual then it gets corrupted. If the power is in the hands of more people, it can’t go on a wrong path,” Pawar said. Referring to Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis’ recent remarks that the battle of Baramati is not Pawar vs Pawar but between PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi, the NCP (SP) chief quipped whether the Congress leader was coming to Baramati to seek votes. ”Is he coming here to seek votes? Is Modi coming here? This is a new thing now. They are not talking about voting for Maharashtra; they are talking about Modi or Gandhi. For me, this election is all about seeing how the collective power of voters here can pave the way for good work at the national level,” he said.

Talking about his nephew and Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar’s decision to join hands with the BJP, he said some people took an extreme step and asked who prompted them to take it.

”Today BJP is not a party concerned about the common people and farmers in rural areas. The party is of a handful of people, so the common voters did not vote (for Ajit Pawar-led NCP) to go with the BJP,” he said.

In the last state assembly polls, the people of Baramati voted wholeheartedly, and voting was in the name of the (then undivided) NCP, the former Union minister said. ”Today, some people have forgotten that fact and are going on a different path. I think it is the wrong path, one should stop going on that path, and people should come to the right path,” he said.

Sharad Pawar batted for his daughter and sitting Baramati MP Supriya Sule, who is the NCP (SP) nominee from the seat, saying there is no need for him to tell about the candidate as Parliament speaks for her. ”Supriya’s name is among three parliamentarians who have done excellent work with 90 per cent attendance. So far, no one has levelled a single allegation against her. I have nominated her to put forth your side in Parliament. I would like to ask you to vote for the new symbol (of his party after split in NCP), ‘man blowing tutari’, which has reached the grassroot level in the constituency,” he said.

In Baramati, Sule is pitted against Ajit Pawar’s wife and NCP candidate Sunetra Pawar.

Elections to the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra will be held in five phases from April 19 to May 20.

In Baramati, polling will be held on May 7.


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