Wrong to say Opposition has no face to pit against PM Modi: Sharad Pawar

The Opposition had no face when then PM Indira Gandhi had imposed Emergency in the country back in 1975. But Morarji Desai’s leadership emerged after the powers [Opposition parties] stood united behind him, said Sharad Pawar
Sharad Pawar was commenting on the argument often made by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and party’s supporters that there is no alternative to the leadership of PM Modi. (HT FILE)
Sharad Pawar was commenting on the argument often made by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and party’s supporters that there is no alternative to the leadership of PM Modi. (HT FILE)
Updated on Nov 15, 2021 08:59 PM IST
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By, Mumbai

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar on Monday said that it is wrong to state that the Opposition does not have a face to pit opposite Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.

“It is not right to say that the Opposition parties do not have a face [as a PM candidate opposite Modi]. The Opposition had no face when then PM Indira Gandhi had imposed Emergency in the country back in 1975. But Morarji Desai’s leadership emerged after the powers [Opposition parties] stood united behind him,” said Pawar, while speaking to reporters in Nashik.

Pawar was commenting on the argument often made by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and party’s supporters that there is no alternative to PM Modi’s leadership.

NCP is one of the three ruling parties in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government (MVA). Pawar has been a proponent of a united front against BJP, which is ruling at the Centre.

On June 25, Pawar had said that a third front was the “need of the hour”, however, it cannot be formed without the Congress. He has also claimed that people wanted an alternative to BJP and it was the responsibility of the political leadership to fulfil their expectations. Pawar had made the statement in the backdrop of a meeting with leaders from many political parties and civil society members that was organised by former Union minister Yashwant Sinha-led Rashtra Manch, at the NCP chief’s Delhi residence early this week.

On Monday, Pawar also said that there is no need to give importance to the statement made by Marathi veteran actor Vikram Gokhale, who had supported Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut’s objectionable remarks. Ranaut recently stoked a controversy after she said that India became free only in 2014. “It was not freedom but bheek (alms). We got real freedom in 2014,” she said.

“I don’t think statements of such people should be taken into account. Every society has such a type of people,” Pawar said in response.

On Sunday, Gokhale, in support of Ranaut’s remarks, said, “I agree with Ranaut’s statement. We were given freedom. Many people were just mute spectators when freedom fighters were hanged [during by the British government]. These mute spectators included many senior [political] leaders. They didn’t save freedom fighters who were fighting against the British.”

The NCP chief also expressed his grief on the death of historian and writer Balwant Moreshwar, popularly known as Babasaheb Purandare, who died in Pune on Monday.

“Babasaheb Purandare ensured that the younger generations of Maharashtra know their history in a simple language. He made efforts by holding lectures so that awareness can be made created about history. Babasaheb Purandare, who made this contribution, is no longer with us. He preserved the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, which became controversial, but I am not a history expert to comment on it. The one who has dedicated his entire life for this work was insulted,” he said.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022