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On Pawar’s birthday, NCP joins hands with Congress against Fadnavis govt

The NCP and Congress warned that Maharashtra’s farming community is capable of throwing the government out of power

mumbai Updated: Dec 12, 2017 23:15 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra
NCP president Sharad Pawar (right) with Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad outside the Vidhan Bhawan in Nagpur, Maharashtra, on Tuesday.
NCP president Sharad Pawar (right) with Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad outside the Vidhan Bhawan in Nagpur, Maharashtra, on Tuesday.(Sunny Shende/ HT Photo)

Leading a protest rally after almost three decades, former Union minister and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday urged farmers in the state not to pay taxes, power and water bills.

The rally called by the combined opposition saw a huge crowd. “Till the time the money is not deposited in the accounts, no farmer should pay his light bill, society bill or taxes,” Pawar said.

He warned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Sena government as well as chief minister Devendra Fadnavis that the state’s farming community was capable of throwing the government out of power.

“The farmers who gave you the seat of the chief minister can unseat you too,” Pawar said.

He responded to Fadnavis’ remark that the government would tighten the screws on the Congress-NCP and show how the previous government was responsible for farmers’ plight. “Halla-bol politics of NCP will be settled by exposing ‘Dalla-mar’ (corruption) of the Congress-NCP regime,” Fadnavis had said on Sunday in the ongoing assembly.

Pawar responded to the statement and said, “Do not be arrogant and play vindictive politics.”

Pawar said that for the past six months, the government had been repeatedly promising to waive loans. “But the loans have not been waived,” he said.

Pawar said that the movement would continue until the farmers receive the minimum guarantee price (MSP) and the loan waiver. The NCP chief urged people attending the rally to spread the word. “We do not want charity. We want what was promised to us to be fulfilled,” he said.

Pawar said Rs 70,000 crore was released by the UPA government when he was Union agriculture minister. “I had personally visited the affected districts of Yavatmal and Wardha before announcement by PM Manmohan Singh,” he said.

The leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, criticised the BJP government in the state, saying that he knows the pulse of people and their problem as he had represented Washim (Yavatmal) in the Lok Sabha twice.

Earlier, thousands of workers and leaders of Congress and NCP gathered in Nagpur from different parts of the state to participate in the ‘Jan Akrosh-Halla Bol’ morcha — held on Pawar’s 77th birthday — and marched towards Vidhan Bhavan on the second day of the winter session.

The Congress and NCP were joined by leaders from the Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPM, RPI, and Republican Party of India (Kavade Group). The march aimed to corner the BJP-Shiv Sena government in the state for its unfulfilled promises, including the loan waiver programme, farmer suicides and MSP for farmers.

Pawar said the rally would not end here. “We will uproot the Fadnavis and Modi governments,” he added.

Meanwhile, Azad attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for resorting to derogatory politics by spreading “falsehood”. Saying that it was a desperate attempt to win the Gujarat elections, Azad said the Congress was getting overwhelming support from the people there.