A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked the Pawar political clan in Maharashtra, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar on Tuesday advised him to “not to worry about my family”.
In a restrained but hard-hitting counter to Modi’s tirade, the 78-year-old Maratha strongman reminded him that “the PM’s office is like an institution” and he must be extremely careful while speaking about other people.
“Wherever he goes, Modi first launches personal attacks on the Gandhi family. He must not forget that the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi taught a lesson to Pakistan and created not only history but geography also,” Pawar told an election rally.
“After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, his widow Sonia Gandhi did not leave the country but carried on her duties and responsibilities to the country. Does it behove a person of the PM’s stature to keep insulting the Gandhis like this?” Pawar asked.
The former Union Minister and three-time Maharashtra Chief Minister also accused Modi of not accepting responsibility or exercising caution by making such utterances.
Pawar pointed out that in his five-decade long political career, he had listened to speeches by all Prime Ministers including Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P.V. Narasimha Rao and others but “there was nothing in Modi’s speech” on Monday.
“There are so many burning issues at the national and state levels concerning the commoners, farmers, youth, unemployed, women, but Modi did not discuss these. Instead he chose to launch direct personal attacks against the opposition leaders. No other leader in the past has ever done this,” Pawar said.
“My mother is from Kolhapur and she has imbibed very good culture in me. Modi has no need to worry about my family. Ajit Pawar is also an excellent administrator,” Pawar said in defence of his nephew.
The Maratha strongman’s response came to a sharp onslaught by Modi in Wardha on Monday in which he singled out Pawar, his family and the NCP and asked the people of the state to defeat the Congress-NCP in all the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state.