The Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Friday said his party will launch a 'jail bharo' stir in Maharashtra if the government fails to provide relief to drought-affected farmers within a month's time.
"People should oust (from power) those who are responsible for farmers committing suicides," Pawar said, addressing a farmers' rally in Osmanabad district as he began a three-day visit of drought-affected Marathwada region on Friday.
Pawar targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, over the "wastage" of Parliament monsoon session and absence of Modi from the House. "Why does not Modi remember farmer brothers and sisters?," Pawar asked.
Friday's rally was the first major protest march the former Union minister led in 35 years. The last major rally Pawar led was in December 1980, from Jalgaon to Nagpur.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis lambasted the NCP for shedding "crocodile tears" over the plight of farmers in the state.
"I want to ask the NCP...who is responsible for the agrarian mess?...Who destroyed the Osmanabad district co-operative bank, milk federation, sugar co-operative and spinning mill in the district?," Fadnavis asked while addressing a press conference in Mumbai.
He also demanded that NCP should tell people who diverted Marathwada's share in the Krishna valley.
"The agitation launched by Pawar is nothing but shedding crocodile tears. My government is doing everything for the betterment of farmers," he said.
Meanwhile, education minister Vinod Tawde taunted Pawar, saying the NCP chief has to take to the streets as there is no other suitable leader in that party.
"Does Pawar himself leading the Osmanabad morcha mean that other NCP state leaders like Ajit Pawar, Sunil Tatkare and Jayant Patil have proved to be ineffective?" Tawde asked.
Responding to Tawde's comments, leader of opposition in council Dhananjay Munde said, "instead of commenting on effective leaders in NCP, Tawde, who holds a bogus degree and is a bogus minister, should check veracity of his degree."