Mumbai(dna): So Sharad Pawar has hit the streets – after 35 years. On Friday, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president kick-started a three-day protest walk in Marathwada against the BJP government.
In 1980, he led a protest march against then Chief Minister AR Antulay. The issue – then and now – is the same: farmers. Almost 1 lakh people had joined the 1980 protest, and he covered the 440-km distance between Jalgaon and Nagpur by foot. The slogan was Gyanba Tukaram, Antulayche Kay Kam (Beloved Saint Tukaram! What is the use of Antulay?).
This time, the 74-year-old leader has announced a novel protest: if farmers’ issues are not addressed by September 15, he and his supporters will hold a fill-the-jails protest across the state. What will be different is that they will be marching to jails, with animals for company.
Pawar lambasted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not addressing the farmers issues.
He said that the entire monsoon session of Parliament was washed out because of Modi. “It is the sole responsibility of the government to run the House. Modi did not turn up in the House for 20 days. The Parliament is supreme and if the PM is not attending it, it is very unfortunate for democracy,” he said.
“Today, farmers are in trouble, but where is Modi? Even after more than a year in power, the BJP is still grappling in the dark. They are not able to run the government and control the administration. Even, chief minister Fadnavis is not worried about the farmers’ pain,” Pawar said.