Expressing concern over the “threat to secularism” in the country, Union Agriculture Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said that voters should keep the country free of communalism by ensuring BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s defeat in elections.
Launching the election campaign of four NCP-Congress alliance candidates along with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and senior leaders of NCP and Congress, he said, “We want an India, which is free of racial and communal discrimination. This can be done by keeping Modi out of power.” He said that never in the history of Indian was any person projected as the prime minister well before elections. “The person himself has no knowledge of the history of India and is making irrelevant statements,” said the NCP chief.
While the Congress has fielded Vishwajeet Kadam from Pune Lok Sabha seat, NCP candidates Supriya Sule, Devdatt Nikam and Rahul Narvekar are contesting from Baramati, Shirur and Maval, respectively. Earlier in the day, all the four contestants filed their nomination papers for the elections.
Referring to the massive earthquake in Gujarat, Pawar said he was given the responsibility to carry out rescue and relief operations. “We helped Gujarat recover from the disaster. However, the Gujarat government has filed criminal case against those who helped farmers in Maharastra during drought,” he said, adding, people with such mentality should be kept out of power.
On opposition parties raising slogans about making the country free of Congress, Pawar said, “Congress party is 150 year old. The contribution of leaders have been immense in the development of the country. They have ensured unity among all communities in the country and have won their confidence.”
He said the UPA government has taken a very big step on Food Security Bill, which would ensure food at cheap rates to citizens.
Chavan said the alliance would face a big challenge from communal parties in the elections. “People with fascist mentality are coming forward. People like Hitler came to power by impressing citizens with false assurances. The strategy adopted by Modi is an indication of dictatorship,” he said.
He added, “I had thrown an open challenge to BJP prime ministerial candidate, who claims that under his leadership Gujarat has developed more as compared to other states. If we compare Maharashtra and Gujarat, our state is far ahead by all means,” said Chavan.