Solapur (Maharashtra): NCP president Sharad Pawar has claimed that he worries for Union minister Nitin Gadkari as the latter is being projected as a possible alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Also Read - Sharad Pawar Undergoes Gall Bladder Surgery in Mumbai, Stable
Gadkari, a senior BJP leader, has been in the limelight for taking swipes at his party’s top leadership after the Assembly poll losses in three states. Also Read - Maharashtra Govt, Anil Deshmukh Move SC Against High Court Order Directing CBI Probe Against Ex-Minister
Talking to reporters at Solapur in Maharashtra on Saturday, Pawar said to a question, “Gadkari is my friend. We have worked together. There is talk about his name being pushed (as an alternative to Modi) and because of that I am worried about him.” Also Read - Anil Deshmukh's Resignation: BJP Expects The Issue to be Investigated Fairly, Says Ravi Shankar
However, he refused to elaborate. But on alliances in the state for Lok Sabha polls, Pawar did say that his party was not engaged in any talks for a tie-up with Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
“Raj Thackeray has a great deal of support from the youth. But we have not had any talks regarding any agreement pertaining to elections with his party,” he said.
He discusses public issues with the MNS chief often, but there has been no discussion about working together in the election, he added.
Pawar’s praise for Gadkari assumes significance as the NCP leader has been particularly critical of the BJP. In fact, the NCP and the Congress in Maharashtra have reached out to the Left and smaller parties in their bid to form a united front against the BJP in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
At a farmers’ convention organised by the All India Kisan Sabha which is affiliated to the CPI(M), Pawar said, “This should not end here with resolutions on the farmers’ distress. We should sit together again to formulate a plan on what needs to be done in the next two to four years.”
He said while the farmers in the state faced a drought, the political discussions were around building a temple in Ayodhya. “The BJP government is a national calamity,” a report quoted him as saying.