The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on account of ‘Guru Purnima’ plans to felicitate gutkha baron Rasiklal Dhariwal for his contribution to society. Ironically, NCP leaders, including party president Sharad Pawar and late home minster RR Patil, have been the victim of tobacco products, some of which are produced by Dhariwal’s Manikchand group.
Local NCP leaders, including deputy mayor Deepak Mankar have organised on July 16 the 10th edition of “Gurujan Gaurav” programme to be attended by Ajit Pawar as chief guest. NCP leaders said personalities from the education, sports, business, culture and political fields will be honoured. The party leaders have put up hoardings about the function to be held at Ganesh Kala Mandir.
Beside Dhariwal, others to be honoured at the function include actor Nana Patekar, Dr Sharad Hardikar, senior lawyer Bhaskar Awhad. Guru Pournima is traditionally celebrated by many who pay respect to their teachers.
Patil, who used to consume tobacco, had succumbed to cancer two years ago while Sharad Pawar is battling the oral cancer caused owing to consumption of gutkha (flavoured tobacco mix). After suffering from cancer, Pawar has abstained from consumption of gutkha or other tobacco product.
In the past, Pawar while recounting his experience said, “I used to consume gutkha (flavoured tobacco mix) so I suffered this (oral cancer). I had to undergo operation. My lower and upper teeth had to be removed.”
The NCP president had also criticised BJP MP from Ahemadnagar, Dilip Gandhi, saying, “”I underwent treatment in time and that is why I came out of this (cancer). But in Ahmednagar, some ‘knowledgeable’ public representatives say this (tobacco) doesn’t have any effect. It seems these people have a deep knowledge of medical science.”
On a number of occasions, NCP leaders including Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule have appealed to the workers to give up their habit of gutkha consumption.