New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit Manipur on November 30 to attend the…
Mumbai,Shailendra Paranjpe: While NCP president Sharad Pawar has hardly spared any opportunity to criticise prime minister Narendra Modi in the past, the leader maintained a suspicious silence on the matter during the party’s 2-day conclave in Pune over the weekend.
Pawar’s selective criticism is probably rooted in the fact that he has invited Modi to witness the development of Baramati, the former’s political bastion, on Valentine’s Day (February 14). However, party workers are extremely jittery about the visit and feel it is not in the interest of the party.
While all other NCP leaders criticized Modi at the conclave, Pawar instead aimed his barbs at the Sangh Pariwar and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) for their divisive statements. Not just NCP, even BJP members are not happy about the Baramati visit. The most vocal against NCP however, are Sadabhau Khot, state president of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, and its president Raju Shetty, who is Lok Sabha MP from Hatkanangale.
Shetty said that even though Pawar had not criticized Modi for obvious reasons, it would not help him in any way because the Baramati visit was aimed at expanding the BJP base, nothing else. He added that Pawar would try to seek some relief from possible inquiries by the state government and also try to capitalize on this visit politically, but the BJP would have the last laugh. Shetty pointed out that the BJP wanted to keep the Shiv Sena on tenterhooks by repeating Baramati visit-like events and expand its own base.
Former MLA and founder of the Yuvak Kranti Dal (Yukrand), Dr Kumar Saptarshi, said that Pawar can’t remain out of power for long, hence his invitation to Modi does not come as a surprise. He said that Pawar would praise Modi for the liberalized policies and entrepreneurship zeal, but at the same time caution him against the fundamentalist agenda of the Sangh Pariwar to balance it.
The former MLA also said that even though Pawar claims to be a leader of a progressive party, NCP is a regional outfit, a single-cast dominant party with a handful of exceptions like Chagan Bhujbal, who is its OBC face. Even amidst the state’s Maratha population, the richer sections are with the Congress, and that is the reason Pawar as well as Modi are catering to a neo-rich audience, which brings them together at Baramati.