Confident of a comfortable majority for his party in the Assembly polls, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former home minister RR Patil is part of the camp that wants NCP chief Sharad Pawar, and not Ajit, to become the next chief minister.
In an interview with HT, Patil alleged former CM Prithviraj Chavan accused the NCP of corruption to hide his efficiency, and asked for a review of the decisions taken by Chavan just before the elections. Excerpts:
Are you worried after Prime Minister Modi held a rally in your constituency? You are being targeted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
On the contrary, Modi has made my task easy. I am not a big politician, but as the PM came here to urge people to defeat me, the voters have started sympathising with me even more. A day after Modi’s rally, a large number of people came out to show their support for me. I was campaigning in other parts of the state then. People responded to Modi in the Lok Sabha polls because of the BJP’s campaign and rhetoric. In five months, the situation has changed. People will only support leaders like me, who have delivered on their promises.
Why do you think people in the Tasgaon-Kavathe Mahankal will support you, despite a tough opposition from BJP’s Ajit Ghorpade?
The work that I have done in the past 25 years will speak for me. I have changed the drought-affected constituency drastically. I got water from a distance of 120km for the farmers. Using the irrigation facility, the farmers have been exporting a record quantity of grapes and get a bumper sugarcane crop. My priority is to save people and animal husbandry. I want to set up an industrial zone in the constituency to create jobs for educated youngsters.
Do you want Sharad Pawar to become the CM, if your party forms the government?
Yes, very much. I will personally urge Pawarsaheb to take up the top job because he can set things right. He has a vision. I think the entire NCP wants him to be the CM, but the final word will be his. I also want to tell poll analysts and surveyors that we will not need anyone’s support to form a government. We expect to lead in every region mainly because of the Sena-BJP break-up.
What about the allegations levelled against your party by the Congress and ex-CM Prithviraj Chavan?
Chavan joined the CM’s office with the sole aim of seeking revenge against the NCP. He is still to come out of the shock the NCP gave him in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls, after which he did not contest the elections. He deliberately showed our party in bad light. He is a self-proclaimed clean man, but the question is: is he the cleanest? The next government must review the files Chavan cleared in the last 45 days before the polls.
The Congress says the NCP will join hands with the BJP after polls…
This is Congress’ propaganda against us. If we were to do so, we would have made BJP our partner in 1999. By doing so, we could have got our CM even today. The BJP is a morally corrupt party. The ministers who were accused of corruption by the BJP are now Modi’s Assembly poll candidates. Modi remains silent when the son of a union home minister is accused of taking bribe, when the son of railways minister is accused of rape and Nitin Gadkari (union transport minister) tells voters to take money from candidates…