Pawar vs PM Showdown in Maharashtra Over 'Muslims, Merging with Congress & Wild Remarks'

May 11,2024

NCP (SP) leader Sharad Pawar has been continuously attacking the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), accusing it of adopting an anti-Muslim stand.

After his charges in Maharashtra’s Satara, Pawar has now said that he would never ditch the Nehru-Gandhi ideology and join hands with those who adopt an anti-Muslim stand.

His response came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took a jibe at the NCP (SP) leader’s recent statement that smaller regional parties may come closer to or merge with the Congress in the coming years.

Without mentioning his name, the prime minister called Pawar’s party the “nakli (fake) NCP” and said it would be better if it joined the BJP-led coalition in Maharashtra “with pride” than merge with the Congress and “die in four days”.

The NCP (SP) leader had earlier, on Thursday, said that voting in the first three phases of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections has unsettled PM Modi and he has openly started mentioning Muslim community in his speeches.

“He has started making a mention of Muslim community openly (in his speeches). It seems he thinks that the situation would change by bringing in communal thoughts. It is my observation that some people in his party think that as the phases complete, his position is getting in danger,” the former Union minister had told reporters in Satara.

After his attack, PM Modi, at a rally in Maharashtra’s Nandurbar district the next day, mocked Pawar for making “wild statements” despite being a “tall leader with a experience of 40-50 years in Maharashtra politics”.

“After the Baramati election, he is frustrated and disappointed. After discussing with a lot of people, he made a statement. He has said that if smaller regional parties have to survive in politics, they will have to merge with Congress,” the prime minister further said.

“It means nakli NCP and nakli Shiv Sena have made up their minds to merge with the Congress,” he added, referring to Pawar’s party and Uddhav Thackeray’s party, which are part of the Opposition INDIA bloc.

Chaar din baad Congress mai ja karke marne ki bajay, seena taan karke humare Ajit dada aur Shinde ji ke saath aaoo, aapke sabhi sapne poore ho jayenge. (Instead of merging with the Congress and dying four days later, join hands with Ajit Pawar and Eknath Shinde with pride, all your dreams will be fulfilled),” PM Modi said in Nandurbar.

Pawar had also mentioned about smaller parties merging with the Congress in an interview with Indian Express on May 4. “In the next couple of years, several regional parties will associate more closely with the Congress. Or they may look at the option of merging with the Congress if they believe that is the best for their party,” he was quoted.