A DAY after Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed the Congress-NCP rule for the ongoing drought crisis in the state, the NCP hit out at him on Tuesday. Accusing the BJP government of ignoring the plight of the farmers, the party also accused the PM of having only the interests of traders at heart.
Addressing a public rally in Wardha on Monday, Modi had blamed the “misrule and the corruption of the Congress-led government” for the agrarian crisis in the state. He had also fired a personal barb against former Union agriculture minister and NCP president Sharad Pawar, saying that “he had never cared for farmers”. “Despite being a farmer himself, he had forgotten the plight of the farmers, and the suicides committed. He never cared,” the PM had said. Click here for more election news
In a sharp retort, NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “Modi maintains that since he hails from Gujarat, trade runs in his blood. Those who have interests of the trader community at heart have no right to ask questions about the plight of the farmers.”
In the build-up to the polls, the Opposition in Maharashtra has accused the BJP government of being “anti-farmer.”
On Tuesday, Malik said, “The Prime Minister was in Wardha, where a hailstorm attack has ravaged crops recently. But he did not care to visit the affected farmers. Also, in his election speech, he spared not more than two minutes to discuss the farm crisis.”
Modi’s speech in Wardha was his first rally in the state post the announcement of the elections. “Even in 2014, Modi had kicked off the election campaign (for Maharashtra) from Wardha. At that time, he had spoken on the farmers’ issues for 18 minutes,” Malik said.
Taking offence to Modi’s remark that “Pawar had been hit wicket at the hands of his nephew and that he was facing a family fued”, Malik said, “Our leader is not the one who can get hit wicket. He is someone who can clean bowl his opponents. Modi is scared because he knows that our leader (Pawar) has the ability to unite all like-minded parties.”
The NCP also released an old article when Modi, as the Gujarat chief minister, had heaped praises on Pawar for pushing “agricultural growth” in his home state. “While Modi blames the previous regime for the drought crisis, he avoids speaking about the failure of the Devendra Fadnavis government’s much-touted Jalyukt Shivar scheme,” said Malik.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Congress and NCP unveiled their joint publicity campaign for the polls, which will target the government’s “failure” to deliver on its promises and run with a tagline ‘Laj Kashi Vatat Naahin (how are you not ashamed)’.