Sharad Pawar hits out at BJP on Varun Gandhi episode

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JOINT RALLY: Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan (left) with NCP chief Sharad Pawar and other leaders at their party’s first campaign meeting in Mumbai on Sunday.
JOINT RALLY: Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan (left) with NCP chief Sharad Pawar and other leaders at their party’s first campaign meeting in Mumbai on Sunday.

No religion teaches you to cut off people’s hands, says NCP chief

Mumbai/Pune: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Sunday criticised the BJP for its “flip-flop” on the Varun Gandhi episode and claimed that leaders L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh had revealed their intentions by “justifying” the alleged communal remarks of the BJP candidate for Pilibhit.

“Varun Gandhi evokes the Gita while speaking of chopping off hands and these leaders justify him. Their [Advani, Rajnath’s] neeyat [intention] has been revealed,” Mr. Pawar said at a joint campaign rally of the Congress, the NCP and the RPI in Mumbai’s suburban Bandra.

Regretting that the saffron party leaders were supporting Mr. Gandhi despite his remarks that the hands of people opposing Hindus should be cut off, Mr. Pawar said “no religion teaches you to cut off people’s hands.”

“Understand Gita”

“Understand the Gita; it doesn’t teach people to cut off hands of others. If power is given in the hands of such people, the country will go back 50 years,” he said.

At another election rally, Mr. Pawar said: “The BJP first disowned his [Varun’s] statement and then after two days came out in support of him and even declared it would launch a campaign in his support. Are these people in politics so that they can break people’s hands and leg?”

Accusing the RSS of having been involved in the Nanded explosion, the NCP chief hit out at saffron outfits, alleging that they might have links with other terror attacks, including the Malegaon blast.

“After every blast, Muslims used to be viewed with suspicion. But the truth is now before the country after the Malegaon blast,” he said.

The RSS was involved in the Nanded blast three years ago. “These forces were also involved in the Purna, Parbhani and Ajmer blasts.”

There had not been a single blast in the country after the Maharashtra government arrested those behind the Malegaon blast, he said.

The NCP chief also flayed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

He said he identified Gujarat with Mahatma Gandhi and not with Mr. Modi.

Referring to the former Gujarat Minister Maya Kodnani, who was arrested in connection with riots cases, he said, “a woman Minister has been accused of abetting murder.”

At a rally in Pune on Saturday night, Mr. Pawar said the UPA constituents, who decided to contest the Lok Sabha elections independently, would reunite after the elections to form a stable government.

Mr. Pawar, whose party had projected him as prime ministerial candidate, said every party had the right to make its own choice as was done by the Congress and the BJP by naming Manmohan Singh and Mr. Advani for the top post.

Pat for UPA

He praised the achievements of the UPA government and attacked the BJP’s policies, branding them as “communal” and of detrimental to social harmony.

The veteran Marathi leader also addressed a rally in support of Congress-NCP alliance candidates, including his daughter Supriya Sule (Baramati) and Suresh Kalmadi

In an oblique reference to the former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s statement that the Congress in Maharashtra should have fought the elections alone without allying with the NCP, Mr. Pawar said those who were propagating this line should have thought of forming the government on the strength of their single party.

“This posture is not conducive for a joint poll campaign.”

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said the need of the hour was a joint fight by the Congress and the NCP to offer a stable government for the country’s development. — PTI



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