Exactly a year after offering outside support to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government for ‘stability’ in the state, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said on Wednesday that things have changed and his party does not think it is necessary to extend support to the government now.
Pawar said he was sure the government will complete its term with the help of its ally Shiv Sena, as the latter “has no guts to pull out of the government, despite humiliation”. He said the Shiv Sena has stuck to power like “an ant to jaggery” and will continue to be part of the government, even amid differences. “I am not sure how effective it would be, but the government will have no problem in completing its term. I don’t see a possibility of mid-term polls,” he said, while addressing a press conference at the party headquarters at Nariman Point.
Pawar also clarified his party would not extend support to the government in case the Sena pulled out. “Things have changed and the government has failed to perform during the drought situation. The drought is not new to the people in the state, but the way the government has dealt with it is disappointing,” he said.
Pawar also took a dig at PM Narendra Modi for his ‘insensitivity’ over incidents of atrocities against the minority community or protests against Pakistani personalities. “Modi cannot shrug off his responsibility by saying law and order was the responsibility of the state governments. The Central government should intervene whenever the law and order situation deteriorates. I remember former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had summoned me to Delhi, when the Marathwada University renaming protests reached its peak, to take stock of the situation. She also suggested the measures to be taken. I think the Modi government has failed to show sensitivity,” he said.
Pawar said the state has failed to mitigate the drought situation. “The state government had announced it would waive off school fees of students in drought-hit areas, but has failed to make payments to colleges or universities. It has also not paid its share of crop insurance premiums,” he said.
Pawar condemned the attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni, organiser of the function to release the book of former Pakistan Foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri. He said the people will overthrow the government if they do away with reservation.
Reacting to Pawar’s comments, revenue minister Eknath Khadse, said, “Even though we have differences, we [Sena and BJP] have come together on the plank of Hindutva. Every time Pawar has gone in for any alliance, it has been solely to win power.”