Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a “national calamity” who needs to be defeated in the April-May Lok Sabha polls to safeguard the nation, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said in Amravati on Monday. Pawar said Modi should not talk about the ability of the opposition to lead the country nor about unity in the Pawar household.
He said the UPA, of which his party was a part, had run the country well for a decade from 2004 under then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“We can run the country well. Modi need not worry about our ability,” he said.
Pawar also attacked the PM for the latter’s personal diatribe against him at a rally in Wardha.
Modi had said Pawar had lost grip on the Nationalist Congress Party which was wracked by a “family feud”.
“Pawar’s grip on the party is loosening. The situation is that Pawar saheb’s nephew (Ajit Pawar) is trying to take control of the party. Because of this, the NCP faced problems in ticket distribution,” the PM had claimed at the rally.
“I am happy in my home. You (Modi) need not worry. You never had a home in your life,” Pawar said.
He also lashed out at Modi for not visiting Gandhiji’s Sevagram Ashram during his Wardha visit on April 1.
In 1936, Mahatma Gandhi established his residence in a village called Segaon on the outskirts of Wardha, which he renamed as Sevagram, which means ‘village of service’.
Pawar said Modi claims to be a Gandhian and gets pictures clicked of himself spinning the charkha but did not deem it fit to pay tribute at Sevagram Ashram.
“It is all drama,” the former Union agriculture minister said.
Hitting out at the Centre over farm distress, Pawar said the Modi government did not probe farmer suicides or study their issues in order to frame agricultural policies.
“The UPA waived farm loans worth Rs 71,000 crore. Modi asks me why there are farmer suicides. He is in power but is pinning the blame on me,” Pawar said.
He said he stood for the “20 per cent producers” (referring to farmers) as only with their survival would the “80 per cent” consumers survive.
Slamming Modi on national security, Pawar said the PM, with his self-proclaimed “56-inch chest” style of governance, took credit for the post-Pulwama attack air strike but is unable to bring back former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who is jailed in Pakistan on espionage charges.
“Modi criticised Manmohan Singh for communicating with Pakistan after a terror attack and had asked the government to stop writing love letters to that country. What is the situation now?” he asked.
“In 2014, there were 267 attacks. In 2015, there were 208 and in 2016, the number of attacks was 218. Where is the 56 inch chest?” Pawar taunted.
He said the current dispensation was attacking the legacy of the Gandhi family though it had contributed hugely to the progress of the nation under the leadership of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
He said the Modi government was attacking institutions like the judiciary, CBI and the Reserve Bank of India, and claimed the BJP wanted to change the Constitution.
“It is time to defeat the NDA and only the UPA can do that,” he told the well-attended rally.