New Delhi: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis hit back at Sharad Pawar, a day after the NCP Supremo accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)of misusing power and investigation agencies to poach leaders from opposition ranks. The Maharashtra CM asked the NCP chief to ‘introspect’ why leaders were deserting his party.

“Sharad Pawar should introspect on why his people are not ready to stay with the NCP. The stand of the BJP is very clear. A lot of leaders from the Congress and NCP are interested in joining the BJP, however, very few will be allowed to join. Those with ED cases will not be taken. We do not need such people,” PTI quoted Fadnavis as saying.

The war of words between Pawar and Fadnavis comes after several NCP leaders including Madhukar Pichad, Mumbai unit chief Sachin Ahir, women’s wing chief Chitra Wagh quit the party to join BJP or Shiv Sena.

“We are beyond running behind anyone. Now people (leaders) run behind the BJP. We will take care of those who are good and work for the people,” Fadnavis added.

Earlier in the day, Pawar had claimed that Fadnavis and other Maharashtra ministers are poaching leaders from other parties before the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state.

“The chief minister and other ministers in the state government have literally committed themselves to this work (luring leaders of other parties). They are making phone calls to leaders of other parties and asking them to join,” the NCP chief had alleged.

Besides, the veteran NCP leader also accused the saffron party of misusing financial bodies. “The sugar mill of (former MLA) Kalyan Kale in Pandharpur was in a difficult situation. The state government, by flouting norms, gave Rs 30-35 crore to it and asked him to join the BJP. Since he wanted to save his factory, he switched over,” Pawar claimed.