Sharad Pawar says Modi is ‘a new Putin’, who does nothing but criticise

Sharad Pawar criticizes PM Modi, praises Nehru’s contributions, warns against autocracy, and apologizes for past election mistake in Amravati

April 22, 2024 05:48 pm | Updated 10:04 pm IST - Pune

 NCP-SCP Chief Sharad Pawar addresses a public meeting organised for party candidates Supriya Sule, Amol Kolhe and Congress candidate Ravindra Dhangekar after filing their nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections, in Pune on April 18, 2024.

NCP-SCP Chief Sharad Pawar addresses a public meeting organised for party candidates Supriya Sule, Amol Kolhe and Congress candidate Ravindra Dhangekar after filing their nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections, in Pune on April 18, 2024. | Photo Credit: ANI

Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) (NCP-SP) chief Sharad Pawar on April 22 slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what he called his dictatorial style which he said was similar to that of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He accused Mr. Modi of stoking an atmosphere of fear. He urged people to prevent an autocracy from taking root in India by voting out the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the general election.

Mr. Pawar was addressing a rally in Amravati in support of the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi’s (MVA) candidate, Balwant Wankhede of the Congress.

The 83-year-old NCP patriarch lauded late Congress PM Jawaharlal Nehru, remarking that the latter’s contribution towards building the country cannot be questioned.

A new Putin

“I fear that a new Putin is in the making in India. PM Modi is trying to create an atmosphere of fear and is emulating Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some BJP leaders have spoken publicly about changing the Constitution,” Mr. Pawar claimed.

The NCP (SP) chief, whose party was split last year by his nephew Ajit Pawar, censured PM Modi’s excessive disparaging of the contributions of previous Prime Ministers from the Congress party.

“After Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, I was witness to the workings of almost all PMs from Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao to Manmohan Singh. They strove to build a new India. All the incumbent PM [Mr. Modi] does is criticise,” Mr. Pawar said.

He said that Mr. Modi only criticises others but never speaks about what his BJP-led government had done for the people in the last ten years.

Top leaders of the MVA coalition including Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, were present for Mr. Wankhede’s campaign.

MVA candidate

Mr. Wankhede is pitted against the BJP’s Navneet Rana, who is seeking re-election for a second time. Amravati goes to polls in the second phase on April 26.

Speaking about Ms. Rana, Mr. Pawar said he had come to apologise to the people of Amravati for the “mistake” he had committed in the 2019 elections by supporting Ms. Rana.

Ms. Rana had been fielded by the NCP in the 2014 general election but lost. In 2019, she stood as an independent, and won with the NCP’s backing.

“In the last elections, I sought the support of people and made an appeal (to elect Ms. Rana). People elected the candidate. The time has now come to remedy this mistake,” he said, urging people to vote for Mr. Wankhede.

Mr. Pawar praised Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray for “shouldering the responsibility of protecting the national interest” by working closely with the Congress and the NCP (SP).

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