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Ajit Pawar takes a swipe at the BJP’s ‘Mission Baramati’ campaign

  ‘Those who attempted to storm Baramati on the past lost their deposits,’ says NCP leader

September 08, 2022 07:38 pm | Updated 07:38 pm IST - Pune

File photo of Ajit Pawar.

File photo of Ajit Pawar. | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) making strenuous efforts ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election to capture Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s stronghold of Baramati, Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Ajit Pawar on Thursday, in a jibe at the BJP, said that those who attempted to storm Baramati generally lost their deposits.

Addressing NCP workers at a party event in Pune, Mr. Pawar, the former Deputy Chief Minister in the erstwhile ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ government, took pot shots at the Central and State BJP leaderships for leaving aside vital farmer issues and focusing their attention and resources instead in trying to storm Baramati in rural Pune.

“Will anything come of leaving everything aside and trying to storm Baramati? In the last election [2019 Maharashtra Assembly election], they [the BJP] propped up someone against me…while I take all my opponents seriously, the BJP candidate lost by 1.68 lakh votes while he and all other contestants lost their deposits,” quipped Mr. Pawar, who has been an MLA from the Baramati Assembly segment for nearly 30 years now.  

Mr. Pawar had defeated the BJP’s Gopichand Padalkar by a record margin, which caused the latter to lose his deposit.

He said that because of the affection showered on him and other members of the Pawar clan by the people of Baramati, he felt enthused to work tirelessly for their welfare.

After toppling the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance of the NCP, the Shiv Sena and the Congress in Maharashtra, the BJP is going all-out to win key constituencies in the 2024 General Election with the hitherto impregnable Baramati being high on its priority list.

To this end, Union Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman, who is on a tour of the constituency between September 22-24, has been tasked with spearheading her party’s campaign to supplant the Pawar clan from their borough.

Alluding to Ms. Sitharaman’s visit, Mr. Pawar said: “Let anyone come. We will welcome them. It is Maharashtra’s political culture to welcome all…just like NCP has the right has to expand, so has the BJP.”

Criticising the new Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government, Mr. Pawar said that several public works on the ground had taken a backseat as Guardian Ministers of respective districts had not been appointed after more than a month-and-a-half of the new government taking power.

“It has been more than 45 days, yet no Guardian Minister has been appointed for the respective districts. But the CM [Mr. Shinde] and Deputy CM [Mr. Fadnavis] have other things to do. If I talk too much against them, they get upset,” he remarked.

Stating that the political situation in the country today was parlous, Mr. Pawar said that the country’s unity was being threatened by the policies of the Centre.

He hit out at the BJP’s policy of aggressively “breaking” other parties and ruthlessly poaching leaders from them.

“Earlier, we thought that the Shiv Sena split of its own accord. But now we know that someone had been trying to effect a schism within the party for a long time [referring to the BJP]…this kind of politics is regressive and not one that suits Maharashtra’s tradition. At this rate, all the time will go in keeping ones’ flock together. When will there be any time for development works?” Mr. Pawar said.

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