NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday supported the Maratha community’s silent marches all over Maharashtra and its demand for reservations, which he said should be fulfilled without touching the existing quotas. “If Tamil Nadu government can give 74 percent reservation, why can’t our state?” he asked, addressing the party workers in Amravati. He assured the workers that NCP would field fresh candidates on half of the seats in the coming elections in the state as the party wanted to nurture a new batch of leaders.
He criticised the BJP-led state government’s land-pooling scheme to obtain land for road construction projects. The policy aims at making the farmers partners in the project but they will get the benefit 20 years later, the former Union Agriculture Minister said. “How will the farmers survive till then,” he asked, and called for immediate payment of compensation.
He recalled that when he took the decision to hike the support prices for farm produce when he was the agriculture minister, he faced criticism. “Though I was criticised a lot, I knew that the road to self-sufficiency in food lay in increasing productivity of the farmers, which was possible only if they got their due share for all their labour,” Pawar said.
He also demanded that government extend help for education to farmers’ children because the farmers can’t afford the fees at private schools and colleges. The former Defence Minister praised the Army for the
recent surgical strikes across the Line of Control.
“We may have differences of opinion with the government, but we cannot compromise on the security of the country. We rise above party lines when there is a threat to the security of the country,” Pawar said. The NCP supremo also announced appointment of Praful Patel as the party’s Vidarbha region chief.