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HomePoliticsSharad Pawar criticises Modi for personal attack on Gandhi family, praises Rahul

Sharad Pawar criticises Modi for personal attack on Gandhi family, praises Rahul

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Congress is the only alternative to BJP, Pawar says during a first-of-its kind public interview with MNS chief Raj Thackeray.

Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has sharply criticised PM Narendra Modi’s brand of politics, while hoping for a revival of the Congress saying it is the only alternative to the BJP, and praising Rahul Gandhi.

In a first-of-its-kind public interview of Pawar by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray in Pune Wednesday, the former Union minister said it was wrong for the PM to launch a personal attack in Parliament on the Nehru and Gandhi family that has done a lot for the country. He said the kind of politics that existed during the times of leaders such as Yashwantrao Chavan and S.M. Joshi cannot be seen anymore.

“The culture was that one does not cross a certain limit of ethics. Nowadays, when people are making political attacks, many a times they even forget what post they are holding,” Pawar said.

“About 15 days ago, a leader while speaking on the President’s speech launched a vicious personal attack on a family that has done so much in politics. It did not fit into my understanding of politics,” the NCP chief added.

The event was held to mark Sharad Pawar’s 50 years in electoral politics.

He said things were different during former BJP PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s time when people were respected and heard. “Today, things have changed,” Pawar said.

The event, organised by the Jagatik Marathi Academy of which Pawar was a founding member, closed with Thackeray, also known as a cartoonist, drawing an impromptu caricature of the 77-year-old Pawar.

The NCP chief was also critical of Modi for running the government more or less “single-handedly”. When Thackeray asked Pawar about his opinion of Modi in the past and his opinion of Modi as PM now, the senior leader said, “Modi is a very hardworking man and the efficiency helped him in Gujarat, in bringing about Gujarat’s development.”

“But, there is a difference between running Gujarat and running a country. As a prime minister from Gujarat, he will know Kutch, Surat, Ahmedabad and so on, but may not know the interiors of Kerala or the northeast,” Pawar said.

“You need a team comprising experts from different parts to run a country. From what I see today, there is no approach of working as a team. There is a doubt about whether appropriate decisions are being taken in the absence of team work.”

Pawar was also critical of the Rs 1.1 lakh crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, agreeing with the MNS chief that while not many people will travel from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, more people will come into Mumbai making the city more crowded.

“We did not oppose the bullet train, but we said, if you want a bullet train, have a Delhi-Mumbai route or have a train that goes through Chandrapur, Nagpur, Pune, Nashik, and connects Maharashtra,” Pawar said.

“People will come to Mumbai and the city will get more crowded. If you see the number of people who travel by the existing means of transport between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, you will realise that you don’t even need another project,” he added.

Pawar, a three-time CM Maharashtra, also praised Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying he now has a genuine interest in understanding issues. He narrated an incident when the Gandhi scion had visited Pune’s Vasantdada Sugar Institute and made an effort to understand in depth how sugar is manufactured, the different varieties of sugarcane, the difference between the varieties in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra and so on.

“If he maintains this attitude and works, and if the country’s youth supports him, Congress can see good days again. Today the truth is, that there may be smaller parties, but the only alternative to the BJP is Congress,” Pawar said.

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