Activists arrest a diversion tactic, says Sharad Pawar

NCP chief says the activists’ arrests could be to shift focus from Sanatan Sanstha.

Published - August 29, 2018 10:28 pm IST - New Delhi

Mumbai, Maharashtra, 27/06/2018: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar at his residence in Mumbai. 
Photo: Vivek Bendre

Mumbai, Maharashtra, 27/06/2018: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar at his residence in Mumbai. Photo: Vivek Bendre

Commenting on the arrests of activists in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence, Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar on Thursday said that the arrests could be a way of diverting attention from the involvement of a “certain organisation in Maharashtra” in the murder of rationalists such as Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.

In response to a question about reports that link the Maharashtra-based Sanatan Sanstha to some of these killings, he said, “If these reports are factually correct, then anyone can come to a conclusion that just to divert the attention from those particular incidents and those involved in it, unnecessary importance is given to these people who are activists.”

Mr. Pawar said that he knew “some of the activists who believe in Left ideology, but never knew of their involvement in naxalism.”

To visit their homes

The NCP chief said that he would visit the homes of the arrested activists and talk to their families and locals.

Mr. Pawar has also been authorised by his party to talk to all non-BJP parties to take on the saffron party in 2019. Asked if he would also reach out to parties like the Aam Aadmi Party, the Biju Janata Dal and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, he said,”I will be meeting them sometime later. I know that it would be difficult but possible.”

Mr. Pawar, who had recently said that the Opposition’s Prime Ministerial candidate could be decided post election on the basis of numbers, is being positioned to bring together different parties.

“All I can say is that the person who is taking an interest should not be the candidate,” he said.

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