Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and his nephew and former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Friday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remarks about them made on Thursday.
On Thursday, while addressing a poll rally at Baramati, which is the Pawars’ traditional bastion, Modi had remarked that the Maharashtra Assembly polls this year were a “second freedom struggle” — “for independence from the uncle and nephew. Baramati was to be made slavery-free.”
In a speech at a party function on Friday, Ajit challenged Modi to prove whether there was any slavery in Baramati.
Besides, both, Sharad and Ajit Pawar also contested Modi’s allegation that the elder Pawar had done nothing during his stint as Union defence minister between 1991-1993, when P V Narasimha Rao was the prime minister.
Speaking exclusively to Business Standard, the NCP chief said national security had been his priority during his tenure and there had been no attack from China or Pakistan on India’s borders in those two years.
Ajit said his uncle had travelled extensively across the country and also visited the Siachen glacier during his tenure as defence minister.
On the issue of water supply schemes for 40 villages in Baramati raised by Modi, the Pawar duo said the prime minister should worry about the drinking water problem in Kutch and other drought-prone regions of Gujarat.
Sharad Pawar told Business Standard that a water supply scheme for 40 villages has been cleared and it would be undertaken soon. He dared Modi to release the list of villages in Gujarat reeling under water shortages.
On Modi’s charge against Pawar that he had created confusion on the issue of quota for the Dhangar (shepherd) community, the NCP chief said he had taken the lead and about seven to eight meetings were held for the resolution of the issue. Pawar charged that Modi was misleading people.