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Narendra Modi scared of Rahul Gandhi’s transformed image, says Sharad Pawar

Sharad Pawar has accused the BJP of raking up the Bofors case to ‘defame’ the Gandhis during the Gujarat election campaign.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2017 09:34 IST
Pradip Maitra
Pradip Maitra
Hindustan Times, Nagpur
NCP,Sharad Pawar,Rahul Gandhi
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar wants to tie up with the Congress for the 2019 elections.(PTI)

NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was alarmed at the “transformed image” of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi due to which the BJP was raking up old issues such as Bofors to “defame” the Gandhi family.

He claimed the BJP governments at Centre and Gujarat was rattled by the “massive response” the Congress was getting in poll-bound Gujarat.

“Modi and the BJP are scared of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s emerging image. Fearing the transforming image of Rahul during the Gujarat election campaign, the BJP is now raking up issues such as Bofors against the Gandhi clan to defame them,” Pawar said.

Attacking the Modi government, Pawar said that the claim of Union finance minister Arun Jaitley about stability of the economy was a farce. “Forget new job creation, big companies were retrenching employees across the country. In textile sector, over 20,000 employees were retrenched recently,” he said in Yavatmal in the course of a four-day Vidarbha tour.

Pawar also ruled out an electoral alliance with either the BJP or the Shiv Sena and made it amply clear that the Congress is his party of choice for an alliance in the next elections in 2019.

“We want that there should be an alliance with the Congress. Our party is ready to join hands with the Congress in the ensuing elections,” he said.

Read more: NCP to start agitation against BJP government in Maharashtra

Both the Congress and the NCP suffered humiliating defeats in 2014 state elections when they fought the elections separately which largely contributed to the BJP emerging as the largest party in the assembly.

Pawar also ruled out backing the BJP in Maharashtra if the Shiv Sena pulls out of the alliance government in the state. The BJP has 122 seats in the 288-member House while the Shiv Sena has 63 seats. The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance has come under severe strain with the latter taking regular pot shots at its senior partner.

During his Yavatmal tour, the NCP leader met cotton growers at Mangladevi village whose crops have been affected by pink bollworm -affected cotton growers. The sudden attack of pink bollworms, first in the region, ruined the cotton crop in Vidarbha and the losses are pegged at a massive Rs 10,000 crore.

The pest has overcome the resistance of Bt cotton seed bollgard II. It is feeding on the present crop and is there to stay for years if serious measures are not taken immediately, Pawar observed and assured the farmers that he would discuss the issue with the concerned ministers and the officials of Nagpur-based Central Institute for Cotton Research for a solution.

Pawar also met the family members of Devidas Madavi of Kalamb in the district who died of pesticide poisoning in August this year. Madavi (57), a landless labourer, had taken up the job of spraying pesticides on the cotton field for the first time. He assured the family to help them to overcome the present crisis.

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 09:29 IST