Central agencies misused to break opposition parties: Sharad Pawar - Hindustan Times
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Central agencies misused to break opposition parties: Sharad Pawar

Feb 21, 2024 10:21 PM IST

Speaking at a public rally at Manchar in Pune district on Wednesday, Pawar said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan is - ‘Go to jail or join the BJP. The prime minister is not interested in solving the issues of farmers, but busy in breaking the opposition parties

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) founder Sharad Pawar said that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal might get arrested in the near future as the central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are being misused against leaders of the INDIA alliance as a “blackmailing tactic” to intimidate the opposition.

The former Union minister claimed that the mention of Adarsh housing scam in a white paper tabled in the Parliament was kind of a “threat”, prompting Ashok Chavan’s exit from the Congress. (HT FILE)
The former Union minister claimed that the mention of Adarsh housing scam in a white paper tabled in the Parliament was kind of a “threat”, prompting Ashok Chavan’s exit from the Congress. (HT FILE)

Speaking at a public rally at Manchar in Pune district on Wednesday, Pawar said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan is - ‘Go to jail or join the Bharatiya Janata Party. The prime minister is not interested in solving the issues of farmers, but busy in breaking the opposition parties.”

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“In Jharkhand, fake cases were filed against a tribal chief minister and he was arrested. Kejriwal is being harassed by putting his ministers in jail. Former minister Anil Deshmukh was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in an alleged 100-crore money laundering case. He was released on bail and the graft case was only 1 crore in an educational trust. Similarly, Sanjay Raut was arrested and later released,” said Pawar.

The former Union minister claimed that the mention of Adarsh housing scam in a white paper tabled in the Parliament was kind of a “threat”, prompting Ashok Chavan’s exit from the Congress.

Chavan, who joined the BJP recently, has denied such claims.

He is an accused in the Adarsh housing society scam wherein a 31-storey posh building in south Mumbai was constructed allegedly on land owned by the defence ministry without getting the requisite permissions. The scandal led to Chavan’s resignation as the Maharashtra’s chief minister in 2010.

Pawar said that though the development was surprising for everyone, he was not surprised personally.

“The reason is that the BJP had tabled a white paper on their last 10 years of performance and their opinions about the Opposition. In that white paper, there was a mention of the Adarsh society and Ashok Chavan. After that mention, we assumed that it could be one kind of a threat, and (Chavan’s exit) was a result of that threat,” the NCP-Sharadchandra Pawar chief said.

He claimed that the recent Chandigarh mayoral poll was an example of misuse of power.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the result of the Chandigarh mayoral poll in which the BJP candidate had emerged an unlikely winner, and declared the defeated AAP-Congress alliance candidate as the new city mayor.

The SC said it was evident that the returning officer for the poll, Anil Masih, a BJP leader, made deliberate attempt to deface eight ballot papers.

“The Chandigarh mayoral election, in which eight votes were earlier declared as invalid, is a fine example of misuse of power. It shows that those in power are trying to sideline the opposition by hook or crook,” Pawar claimed.

Pawar and the party’s state unit president Jayant Patil hinted Amol Kolhe as the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s (MVA) candidate for the Shirur Lok Sabha constituency.

“Kolhe served the constituency during the last five years and deserves to be elected again,” they said.

Walse-Patil is not loyal

Pawar on Wednesday criticised Dilip Walse-Patil, who has joined the NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar, without naming him.

Pawar said, “I have given everything to him. He became minister several times. He was the legislative assembly speaker and national president for sugar factory. But what happened? People will understand that despite giving everything, if he is not loyal, how will he gain the trust of voters.”

On NCP-Congress merger

Pawar debunked reports of his camp’s merger with the Congress and said, “We both, the Congress and the NCP, work together. We, Shiv Sena (UBT) head Uddhav Thackeray, and Congress are not separate now. Most of the time, we sit together and discuss, but it does not mean that there is need for a merger.”

Party name, symbol

On the Election Commission of India (ECI) recognising the group led by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar as the real NCP, Sharad Pawar said he founded the party, but the party and its symbol (clock) were taken away from them and given to others.

“Two days back, the Supreme Court observed that we have the right to run our party and ordered the ECI to give us a symbol within seven days. The apex court passed strictures on the Election Commission. Fortunately, the country’s judicial system is still in place where we can approach,” he said.

Asked about alleged discrepancies in the decisions of the ECI, Pawar said not much can be done as elections are around the corner.

But after the election process is over, they will demand that all the political parties come together and discuss this issue, he said. “We have already sent a letter regarding our apprehensions to the Election Commission of India,” he said, adding the letter suggests some reforms in the current functioning of the poll body and an appointment from the ECI has been sought. “I, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, D Raja of CPI, leaders from the TMC and SP are among the signatories of that letter,” he said.

To a question on the BJP claiming it will bag more than 400 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls but taking leaders from the Congress and other parties in different states, Pawar said it shows the BJP is not confident about winning that many seats.

“A survey focused on Maharashtra states that our people (Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi) would win around 50 per cent of the seats in the state (out of total 48 Lok Sabha seats). That is why an attempt is being made to make states unstable and poach (leaders from the opposition), and for that the ED, CBI are being used,” he claimed.

On Union home minister Amit Shah’s remarks that Sonia Gandhi’s aim is to make Rahul Gandhi the prime minister, the veteran leader said he could give a long list of leaders who have two family members in politics.

With agency inputs

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