Gently rapping nephew Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Home Minister R R Patil on their knuckles without naming them,Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar said on Friday that party leaders should refrain from making personal attacks against Congress leaders during campaigning for elections to zilla parishads and municipal corporations where the two coalition partners are contesting against each other.
Through the past few weeks,Ajit Pawar and Patil have been in a war of words with Industries Minister Narayan Rane,with the junior Pawar responding to Ranes challenge of exposing the NCP by saying that Rane appeared to have lost his mental balance.
We are allies in the Centre and have been allies in Maharashtra since 1999. We are allies in the Goa government. We are contesting the Assembly polls in Goa together where our seat-sharing talks are almost complete. However,the Congress and the NCP are in an electoral battle against each other in some places. My plea to all party workers across the state is to show restraint and refrain from making personal attacks against the Congress party and its leaders, Pawar told a news conference here. He did not name Ajit Pawar or any other NCP leader.
Saying that the NCP as well as the Congress are expected to add to their individual strength in various parts of the state during the upcoming polls,Pawar said the two parties have to work together once elections are over. There is a role we have to play together, he said,adding that the other parties too should display some control while on the campaign trail.
Alongside the name-calling between Cabinet colleagues,the Congress and the NCP have both also announced a series of defections,welcoming leaders across rank and seniority from the opposite party into their fold. Every party has a right to spread its base. There is no reason to be angry about that, said Pawar,who is expected to address at least two Congress-NCP joint rallies during campaigning for the BMC polls.
Earlier in the day,Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan,in an interaction with reporters,said campaigning for the zilla parishad elections posed a curious challenge for state leaders as rural development programmes and policies are implemented largely by the state government which is run by the two parties together even though they are now electoral rivals.