Modi attacks Sharad Pawar, keeps silence on Shiv Sena
KOLHAPUR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday
launched a sharp attack on NCP chief Sharad Pawar but remained silent on Shiv
Sena as a ‘tribute’ to its late supremo, Bal Thackeray in an apparent
indication of a possible post-poll truck with BJP’s erstwhile ally.
Addressing three rallies on the second day of his
campaigning in poll-bound Maharashtra, Modi also asked voters to banish the ‘corrupt’
NCP and Congress from the state politics forever and accused the ruling
alliance partners of misrule for 15 years and looting the people of the state.
Notwithstanding the bitter parting just before the
elections, Modi said he would "not utter a single word" against Shiv
Sena out of respect for late Bal Thackeray.
“Political pundits are saying why is Modi not
criticizing Shiv Sena in his speeches (during poll campaign). This is the first
election in absence of late Bal Thackeray, for whom I have great respect. I
have decided not to utter a single word against Shiv Sena. This is my tribute
to Balasaheb Thackeray,” he said.
"There are some things which are above politics
... There are feelings. Not everything should be linked to politics," Modi
told a poll rally at Tasgaon in Sangli district of western Maharashtra.
His remarks came hours after Shiv Sena leader Aditya
Thackeray attacked BJP, accusing it of back-stabbing Bal Thackeray by snapping
ties with his party over seat sharing.
In his attack on Pawar at the rallies in Tasgaon,
Kolhapur and Gondia in Vidarbha region, Modi said the NCP leader cannot imbibe
any of the qualities of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji. Tasgaon and Kolhapur
are considered NCP strongholds.
“I am amazed ... Pawar was the Union agriculture
minister, but in his Maharashtra, around 3,700 farmers commit suicide every
year,” he said. “There is no chance of you (Pawar) getting Shivaji's qualities
in your character,” Modi said, as he invoked Chhatrapati Shivaji, Shiv Sena's
biggest icon for the Maratha pride plank.
“But as agriculture minister at the Centre, had you
implemented Shivaji's water management techniques, farmers of Maharashtra would
not have committed suicide,” the Prime Minister said at Tasgaon from where
former state home minister RR Patil is the NCP nominee.
Modi hit back at Pawar who had attacked the BJP saying
that the people who had termed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj a ‘looter’ were
invoking the warrior king to seek votes.
“Stop challenging our ‘Shiv bhakti’,” Modi said. “I
want to ask Sharad Rao Pawar. You speak of Shivaji. It was the Vajpayee
government which named Mumbai airport after Shivaji. You were chief minister
but did not think of it. Even Victoria Terminus was named Chhatrapati Shivaji
Terminus by Vajpayee government," Modi said.
At a recent rally, Pawar had said, “They never even
celebrated Shiv Jayanti and suddenly they have realized the importance of
Shivaji Maharaj. All this is for votes only.”