Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a blistering attack on Sharad Pawar and his family from the Pawar bastion, Baramati, and appealed the voters to emancipate themselves from the slavery of one family in the coming assembly election.
In a largely attended public rally, probably first of its kind in the recent history of Baramati, Modi chose to target Pawar family, seeking to end speculation that BJP-NCP may come together after the elections. Describing Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar as `Chacha-Bhatija', Modi even recalled Ajit Pawar's controversial remark of 'urinating in the dam'.
Talking about Ajit Pawar's controversial statement on urinating in the dam, Modi said "I wonder how such people can work in public life. My head bows down in shame. Will you not vote for emancipation from such people and self esteem this time?" Modi asked a cheering crowd.
"I have not come here for election campaign or to make someone MLA. I have come to appeal you to get freedom from a family," BJP's star campaigner said. "You have to get their permission for everything- agriculture, land, water, sugarcane or employment. People should not tolerate this kind of slavery in free India," Modi said.
Old timers said that it was for the first time any national leader had dared to challenge Pawar family in Baramati by organizing such a massive rally. People had come from Pune, Ahmednagar and Solapur districts to attend the rally.
Modi questioned how could the cooperative sugar mills incur losses while private sugar mills, run by the same people, gain profit in crores. He further said Baramati MIDC area has not been getting water for years as Pawars failed to make any substantial provision for water. "How can they expect people to have faith in them", he asked.
Modi also targeted the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. "Some people consider themselves shahenshah, raja and maharaja, and hence they do not feel the need to be accountable to people. They do not consider themselves as representatives of the people," he said. He added that he understood the problems of poor people and he had lived in poverty.
In an obvious attempt to attract dominant Dhangar community in the region, Modi said Pawars have back stabbed Dhangar community by opposing reservation to them. "At least they should have tried to understand why Dhangars are fighting. They should have tried to understand their sentiments." Modi added that he would always remain gratitude to Dhangar community for the honour being bestowed on him.
Under severe attack from the opposition over Pakistan's incessant cross-border firing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at his critics saying they were "demoralising" the security forces.
"Such an issue should not be part of a political debate. Elections will come and go, but please don't demoralise those fighting on the border by debating these things," Modi said.
"Don't use words that will discourage the soldiers fighting on the border," he said in response to criticism from the Congress, the NCP and his former ally, the Shiv Sena.
Targeting Pawar, who had criticised him for holding poll rallies in Maharashtra when there was tension on the border, Modi said, "When you were the defence minister, there were problems with Pakistan and China on the border. Did you ever bother to go to the border then?"
Praising security forces for responding to Pakistan's aggression, Modi said, "Today, when bullets are being fired on the border, it is the enemy that is screaming. Our jawans have responded to the aggression with courage.