Barely three weeks after he appeared to be going soft on Narendra Modi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday attacked the BJP Chief Ministerial candidate on the 2002 riots issue, saying the entire country has seen the “mass murders” that took place in Gujarat.
Pawar’s remarks came as he questioned Modi’s development model and his claim to change the face of the country.
“Chief Minister of neighbouring state speaks about his development agenda….What is development?..It is bringing all round development in the lives of the poor and bringing smile on their faces,” the Union Agriculture Minister said.
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“They speak of changing face of the country…but the entire country has seen how mass murders took place,” Pawar said in a reference to the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
Early this month, Pawar had said that there was no need for a debate once courts had ruled on Modi’s role during the 2002 riots
Responding to a query during a press conference in Kolhapur, the NCP chief had said, “If courts have given their verdict, then the question of holding a debate on it does not arise. We accept the court’s order and there won’t be any debate on it.”
There was also reports about Pawar meeting Modi but the NCP leader had denied it.
Pawar on Saturday alleged that the Gujarat Chief Minister had ignored certain sections of society in his quest for power.
“These people are asking for complete power to them…but their attitude is to ignore certain sections of the society,” he said while addressing a meeting to discuss the status of minorities at Y B Chavan Centre here.
Pawar’s NCP is an important constituent of the Congress-led UPA at Centre and also an alliance partner in the Democratic Front government in Maharashtra.
The Maratha strongman also criticised former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh for quitting the IPS to join BJP.
“Till the other day, he was in charge of the law and order of the city and suddenly one finds he has joined the BJP. Recently, a top official of the ministry of Home Affairs also joined the communal BJP,” the NCP chief said.
“..Ideology is not framed overnight, those in the administration are expected to be fair and impartial in a secular country. These people are part of administration for 20-30 years and suddenly (they) join a political party,” he said.
Pawar said the presence of such people in government could be dangerous. “I have no objection to them joining politics, but their presence in government is dangerous…All secular parties should think about this,” he added.
BJP, however, took a jibe at Pawar, saying the NCP leader has a peculiarity of making “communal” statements ahead of elections.
“For four years and nine months Pawar talks like a secularist. However, when elections draw closer he turns communal,” BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said.
On Pawar criticising the former Mumbai police commissioner for joining BJP, Javadekar said, “Pawar is unhappy as the top cop did not join NCP”.