Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar is alleged to have warned residents of a village in Baramati on Wednesday night — the eve of polling — that he would “cut off” their water supply if they did not vote for his cousin and sitting NCP MP Supriya Sule.
A purported video of Pawar addressing a gathering in Masalwadi village has been cited in a complaint filed by Suresh Khopde, a former IPS officer and AAP candidate from Baramati, at the Vadgaon (Nimbalkar) police station. The police are yet to register the complaint.
Assistant Police Inspector Vilas Bhosale said due to the polling process he did not get time to go through the complaint. “I will check the veracity of the incident and take proper action thereafter,” he said.
While the faces in the video are not visible as it is too dark, the audio is clear. “Tomorrow voting will be undertaken. If anybody from this village indulges in any trouble, I will cut off the water (supply) to the village. Supriya is getting piles of votes from the entire Baramati (constituency), so votes from your village won’t change anything. My sister will neither win nor lose because of your votes. But I will get to know from the voting machine (who you have voted for), and then I will tell these people that if you have so much arrogance, I can’t help you.
I had to take so much trouble to get Rs 60 crore passed for the water project. Only because I was there it could happen. I am not boasting, but even Lord Brahma can’t bring water here,” Pawar purportedly says in the video.
A youth in the video points out that Pawar had promised a water pipeline for the village within two months, but he was yet to fulfill his promise after eight years.
Pawar’s supporters try to hush him up, but the youth says he has the right to demand an answer. Pawar then purportedly asks his supporters to “pick him up” and leaves the spot, saying the village would not get any water.
Despite repeated attempts, both Pawar and Sule could not be contacted as their cellphones were switched off. Sule’s aide Nilesh Raut said she could not be contacted for comments.
BJP and AAP leaders have demanded action against Pawar and have approached the poll panel also.
In April last year, Pawar had kicked up a controversy for his comments on water shortage. Referring to a hunger strike by a farmer from a drought-hit area of Solapur, Pawar said, “If there is no water in the dam, how can we release it? Should we urinate into it? If there is no water to drink, even urination is not possible.”