Setting the stage for an ugly war of words, deputy chief minister and state finance minister Ajit Pawar took a sharp dig at Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Tuesday, questioning his contribution to the state’s development.
“Balasaheb Thackeray has done nothing constructive throughout his life. He has merely issued statements sitting in Mumbai,” Pawar said.
Pawar was speaking in Akole taluka in Ahmednagar district during the birthday celebrations of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Maharashtra chief Madhukar Pichad.
“Thackeray never started any industry, educational institution, dairy or market committee. He has only been playing with the sentiments of people and has been misleading them,” Pawar said.
This is the first time that Pawar has directly attacked the Sena chief, who is an old friend of NCP president Sharad Pawar, even though they have had political differences.
Pawar’s scathing remarks have evoked a sharp reaction from the Shiv Sena. Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe described the remarks as irresponsible. She said Pawar was making such statements because nobody was paying him any attention. “Pawar’s various scams are coming to light and he is afraid of the alliance between Shiv Sena and the Republican Party of India,” Gorhe said.
Taking a jibe at Pawar for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh scam and other contentious issues, she said, “Of course, Pawar had ‘adarsh’ ideas of development like Lavasa, constructing bungalows on government land, setting up and looting banks. Balasaheb has not resorted to this kind of development.”
Sena MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut said Pawar did not have the moral right to comment on the Sena chief. “The education institutes and sugar industries run by the NCP-Congress are breeding grounds of corruption. Balasaheb has done the work of removing such corrupt institutions,” he said.