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CM pricks at Opposition’s ego over caste politics whilst praising Aamir Khan, Paani Foundation

Political biggies promise Paani Foundation full support in future

pune Updated: Aug 13, 2018 16:31 IST
Parth Welankar
Parth Welankar
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,maharashtra,aamir khan
Aamir Khan (left), Bollywood actor and founder of the Paani Foundation, and Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister, during the Water Cup award distribution ceremony at Balewadi Sports Complex on Sunday.(PTI)

The water cup award ceremony held, at Balewadi sports complex on Sunday, was one of the rare sights where politicians from across political parties praised Bollywood star Aamir Khan for his initiative Paani Foundation, a non-profit working towards a drought-free Maharashtra.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who was also present at the event, used the opportunity to take a dig against various political parties for indulging in caste politics. He was responding to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray who criticised the government saying if Aamir Khan is working towards conservation of water, what are the governments doing.

In his response, Fadnavis said, “While we have always been busy in issues related to caste, creed and religion, Aamir Khan has realised the loopholes and is working towards water conservation in the state.” The CM’s remarks come against the backdrop of the agitation by various communities, including Marathas, acquiring political colours. On Saturday, Sharad Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief, advised the Maratha community to be careful while alleging that the government may try and create a rift between the Marathas and the other community.

Terming the Bollywood actor a revolutionary and visionary person, Fadnavis, said, “Water conservation is indispensable for the state. However, water conservation on such a large level could not be achieved unless it became a people’s movement. Aamir Khan has to be credited indeed that he realised this most crucial factor and mobilised the sentiment of people and transformed this movement into a large people movement.”

“We all support Aamir Khan’s movement towards a drought-free Maharashtra and am sure we will achieve this dream very soon,” added Fadnavis.

Praising Aamir Khan’s work, NCP leader Ajit Pawar, said, “The work that Paani Foundation has been doing is indeed commendable. However, there should be a consistency in the work which has started now. It is now Aamir’s responsibility to ensure that this particular work never stops and should only grow in multiple folds.”

Pawar also cautioned Khan of associating himself with any political party. He said, “People of Maharashtra look up to Aamir khan with a sense of respect. The moment you associate yourself with any particular political platform, you might lose this respect.”

Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, senior Congress leader and leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, said, “I congratulate all the efforts taken by Aamir Khan and his team to work selflessly for making Maharashtra a drought free state. People’s participation is very important for any work to succeed. Aamir Khan has done it successfully which is indeed a paradigm in itself.”

Earlier, Thackeray accused consecutive state governments of not doing any work related to water conservation in the last 60 years.

“Post the formation of Samyukt Maharashtra, till now in 2018, all governments have failed to do anything in the state relating to water conservation owing to which Bollywood actor Aamir Khan had to take up this issue and work towards making Maharashtra a drought-free state,” said Thackeray.

Thackeray asked the actor to continue his work with persistence and promised him to be a part of the people’s movement he has started in the following year.

Other senior leaders, like Ashok Chavan, former chief minister; Ram Shinde, minister of water conservation in the state government, and Vijay Shivtare, minister of state and Shiv Sena leader, hailed Aamir Khan and the Paani Foundation for the noble work it has started and assured complete assistance for this project in the future.

Top 3 prizes

First prize: Takewadi village in Satara district

Cash prize of Rs 75 lakh with trophy

Second prize: Draw between Bhandavali village in Satara district and Sindhkhed village in Buldhana district

Cash prize of Rs 50 lakh was divided between two villages

Third prize: Draw between Anandwadi village in Beed district and Umtha village in Nagpur district

Cash prize of Rs 40 lakh was divided between the two villages.

First Published: Aug 13, 2018 16:14 IST