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Accusing BJP of having upper caste tilt, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar Wednesday insinuated that the saffron party used its backward class leaders with mass base like late Gopinath Munde to grab power only and then dumped them for likes of Nitin Gadkari, Prakash Javdekar and others. The former deputy Chief Minister also claimed that BJP was getting alienated from masses and deviated from principles laid down by social reformers like late Shahu Maharaj, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and B R Ambedkar.
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“As a young boy, I used to hear that BJP is a party of ‘Shetjis and Bhatjis’ (insinuating that it represents only upper caste traders and Brahmins), but in recent years leaders like late Gopinath Munde, N S Farande and Annasaheb Dange, representing backward classes, contributed significantly for the growth of that party.
“Today, when the party is in power we get to see leaders like (Nitin) Gadkari, (Prakash) Javdekar, (Suresh) Prabhu and Piyush Goyal (suggesting that they are upper caste leaders). It clearly indicates that the party has used its leaders from masses and (then) set (them) aside after attaining power,” Pawar said addressing a rally at Pimpalner village in Madha tehsil of Solapur district.
Ajit Pawar is the nephew of veteran politician Sharad Pawar. His remarks came at a time when mega rallies being taken out by Maratha community for reservation has brought a churn in state politics, whereas dalits too are asserting themselves against any perceived move to dilute SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
“Current leadership in state is mostly from Vidarbha region (from where Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis hails), hence they are biased towards sanctioning funds for western Maharashtra. This is nothing but sheer injustice,” he said.