New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party legislator (MLC) Gopichand Padalkar sparked a row on Wednesday after he called Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar “Coronavirus for Maharashtra”. Attacking Pawar, the BJP MLC accused him of playing casteist-cum-divisive politics and said “he is the Coronavirus” which has afflicted the state.Also Read - ICC Men's U-19 Cricket World Cup 2022: India U-19 Captain Yash Dhull, Five Others Test Covid Positive, Says BCCI

He accused the veteran NCP leader of allegedly denying reservations to the Dhangar community and instead politicizing the issue. Also Read - #ZeeOpinionPoll Finds 'UP Mey Toh Yogi Hai'; BJP To Win 245-267 Seats Against Samajwadi Party 125-148

“Sharad Pawar is coronavirus for Maharashtra. He has been leading the state for many years but he has only oppressed ‘Bahujan’ people. I am sure that he will continue this in the future too,” Gopichand Padalkar said. Also Read - What is Himalayan Red Buransh Flower And How Can it be Useful Against COVID?

Padalkar’s comments took even the BJP by surprise, with Fadnavis along with Leader of Opposition (Council) Pravin Darekar condemning the statement of Padalkar.

Meanwhile, NCP activists staged protests and raised slogans against Padalkar in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, and in Beed they burnt his effigy, while a protest was announced in Pune on Thursday in support of the 79-year old NCP chief.

Hitting back, NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase labelled Padalkar as “a party-hopper who is affected by a mental bug”.

“The man who was begging to join the NCP, and was abusing (PM) Narendra Modi later went and got a ticket from the BJP”, so what was his locus-standi to attack Pawar in such derogatory terms,” Tapase said.