Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday said BJP has been rejected in most of the country and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the “lack” of the vision for “inclusive development”.
Mr Pawar, who has been undergoing treatment in a Mumbai hospital since the last few days, flew to Shirdi from Mumbai with doctors and addressed the party convention briefly.
He said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been rejected in most of the country, except in a few states, while in other states the saffron party has formed governments by “misusing” Central probe agencies.
Mr Pawar appealed to NCP cadres to remain committed to progressive ideology and not fall prey to any “inducements”.
Earlier in the day, the 81-year-old leader, who has been undergoing treatment in Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital for the last few days, reached the Mahalaxmi Race Course accompanied by a team of doctors and flew to Shirdi in Ahmednagar district in a helicopter .
Speaking at the NCP meeting, the veteran politician expressed confidence that the party workers would bring a ‘political change’ in the state.
Mr Pawar has been undergoing treatment for infection and fever.
At the convention, Mr Pawar, who was looking tired, spoke for a few minutes. He said since he has been advised to rest for 10 to 15 days, he wouldn’t be able to speak at length.
He then asked party leader Dilip Walse Patil to read out his speech.
Later in the afternoon, Mr Pawar flew back to the Mumbai hospital with a team of doctors.
Mr Pawar said except in states like Gujarat, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and some Northeastern states, the majority of the country has rejected the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the states of Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh, the respective governments were toppled by (BJP) by misusing Central probe agencies, he alleged.
“A prime minister has to have a vision for the inclusive development of all and be broad-minded but unfortunately this is not the prevailing situation. The PM should focus all his energies (to revive) the weakening economy and bringing down inflation.
“But the state (Maharashtra) and Central governments lack the vision of going beyond caste, religion and political affiliations to achieve the empowerment of women, workers, labor class, tribals, and backward classes,” he said.
Mr Pawar said projects like Vedanta Foxconn and Tata Airbus have been diverted to Gujarat right under the eye of the state government. “This is shameful,” he added.
Instead of diverting the Tata-Airbus project to Gujarat, the Center should have focused on making defense projects more efficient, the former Union minister said.
He alleged that the incumbent state government was “narrow-minded” which is not a good sign for Maharashtra.
Mr Pawar said the NCP can change the politics of communalism and create awareness of progressive thinking among the people.
The NCP is a constituent of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, which also includes the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and the Congress.
“We have to create new and strong leadership. The NCP should remain united and work as a strong political outfit, stay committed to progressive ideology, and not fall prey to inducements and allurement. We have to fight to save the Constitution and democracy and defeat communal forces,” he said.
Mr Pawar expressed confidence that the party workers would work towards strengthening the NCP and bringing political change to the state.
“I am sure the situation will change,” the former Maharashtra chief minister said.
“Party cadres wished that I come for the meeting where discussions on the ideology, programs and policies of the NCP are being discussed,” he said.
On Friday, Mr Pawar had taken part in the NCP meeting via video link from the Mumbai hospital.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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