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People’s mood is against Modi, claims Sharad Pawar; slams Centre over China

NCP (Sharad) President Sharad Pawar speaks during a press conference, in Nagpur, on April 2, 2024.

NCP (Sharad) President Sharad Pawar speaks during a press conference, in Nagpur, on April 2, 2024.
| Photo Credit: PTI

Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) president Sharad Pawar on April 2 said the mood of the people has changed ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and the sentiment is now clearly against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking a third term in office.

Addressing a press conference in Nagpur, Mr. Pawar said Mr. Modi attacked the Indira Gandhi government for renouncing claim on a “small” island (Katchatheevu) and giving it to Sri Lanka, but he is silent on China encroaching on large tracts of Indian land.

To a query on China unilaterally renaming places in Arunachal Pradesh, the former defence minister said, “Our government is not taking national interests seriously”.

He said there was “no thinking yet” on who would be the INDIA bloc’s prime ministerial face.

The veteran politician expressed confidence about his daughter and sitting MP Supriya Sule winning the Baramati Lok Sabha seat, where her main opponent is debutant Sunetra Pawar, the wife of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

“You will know the outcome when results are announced on June 4,” he maintained.

“I can see clearly that the mood of people has changed. It is now against PM Modi. Under the present regime, institutions are being attacked,” the Rajya Sabha MP claimed.

Asked whether there will be a division of votes due to splits in regional parties, including his outfit, Mr. Pawar noted voters have already decided whom to defeat in the upcoming polls rather than whom to make win.

“People are thinking not to waste their votes. We cannot deny that various ideologies have come together to defeat the BJP,” the former Union minister said.

Talking about the March 31 rally of the INDIA bloc at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, Mr. Pawar pointed out that important leaders from various states were present at the gathering.

It was clear that a different situation has emerged in the country, where democracy is being attacked and hence there was a need for anti-BJP leaders to work together, emphasised the NCP founder.

The Constitution is being attacked today and the opposition has to work together against the ideology which is creating such a situation, said the veteran politician and pointed out that many INDIA bloc leaders, including former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, are in jail.

To a query on Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi minister Aatishi’s statement that more AAP leaders are likely to be arrested in the coming months, Mr. Pawar maintained the Centre does not like the work being done by the Kejriwal government in the national capital.

On Mr. Modi’s statement that the INDIA alliance is a “den of dynastic and corrupt people”, Mr. Pawar remarked it is difficult to argue on the way PM speaks.

The Rajya Sabha member pointed out that the PM had said in Maharashtra he will teach a lesson to some people from the NCP and initiate a thorough investigation against them (for alleged graft).

However, it is for all to see what lesson he has taught them, said Mr. Pawar, taking a dig at Mr. Modi.

On the Supreme Court granting bail to AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in a money laundering case related to the Delhi excise policy, the NCP (SP) chief said, “This is a good thing. Injustice was done to him. Now, the real picture will come out.” “We, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), want him (in opposition alliance),” Mr. Pawar said, replying to a query on Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi fielding candidates in some Lok Sabha seats.

“There is no such thing,” Mr. Pawar replied, when asked if his friendly relations with Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who is the BJP candidate from Nagpur, were behind his party not fielding a candidate against him.

When pointed out that the PM has made a plan for things to be done in the first 100 days of his government’s third term in office, Mr. Pawar said, “Modi is wise in all aspects.” Earlier, Mr. Pawar visited adjoining Wardha to attend filing of nomination by NCP (SP) candidate Amar Kale.

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