Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s meeting with Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Sunday has acquired political undertones. In an exclusive interview, Pawar tells Sujata Anandan not to read any meaning into it.
The world is agog with rumours that you were cocking a snook at the Congress by calling on Bal Thackeray …
That’s all humbug. I had just one issue on my mind — the Indian Premier League. That was all that we discussed.
But you were raging at Bal Thackeray in the morning at your party meet in Aurangabad. And in the evening, you were having tea with him…
It was not a state secret that I would call on Thackeray. I was not hiding anything. I still believe that a fight between two brothers should not destroy peace and harmony and bring trouble to the common man. I said this at the Aurangabad meeting and I announced before 5,000 party workers that I would be going to Matoshree (Thackeray’s residence) and tell Balasaheb that.
What was Thackeray’s response?
(Pause) Okay, bye.
People believe that you are miffed at the Congress Working Committee passing strictures against you. And that is why you were snubbing them through this visit to Matoshree.
The CWC passed no strictures. They’ve no reason to.
The price rise?
That is not my responsibility alone. We are battling it together.
You received flak for your comments on sugar in your party mouthpiece, Rashtrawadi. It says “eating less sugar when prices are so high will not kill you…”
Those were the comments of the editor. The editor’s opinion is not necessarily the party’s view.