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Ready for early Assembly polls if Sena quits State govt.: Pawar

Published On : 14 Feb 2017   |  Reported By : Courtesy : The Hindu

Mumbai (The Hindu): As the Sena-BJP drama over the former pulling out of the government continues, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said his party is eagerly waiting to contest mid-term Assembly polls.

“First of all, I do not think the Sena will withdraw support to the State government. They (Sena) cannot live without power. In case they do, we will not support the BJP government at all. We are ready, rather we are waiting, to contest Assembly elections,” Mr Pawar said during a meeting with select mediapersons at the Y.B. Chavan Centre in South Mumbai.

He added, “When I announced unconditional support to the BJP after the 2014 Assembly elections, it was a clear thought that the State should not be immediately thrown into another election. Now, two-and-a-half years have passed, and considering the way this government is functioning, it is necessary to remove them from power.”

After he refused to enter into a pre-poll alliance with the BJP, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has indicated that the decision to continue being part of the State government would be taken after the civic election results are out. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Mr. Thackeray have been taking on each other at public rallies, using epithets for each other like mafia, blackmailer and liar.

Reacting to the ongoing spat, Mr. Pawar said each election witnesses bitter exchanges between parties, but the present scenario is unfortunate.

“I can understand about Uddhav Thackeray, but the CM is supposed to be the head of the State. I am hearing that he is planning to hold 60 to 70 rallies for his party. That’s his decision, but the chief of the State should be understanding and cultured. What is going on is unprecedented.”

Mr. Pawar did not spare the Congress, saying the party has put itself in a position where it merely dreams about past achievements and how it had ruled the country. “The situation has changed and it should learn adjust,” he said. He blamed Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s ill-health for not having an alliance with the party.

“There is no leader who is of our age and thought with whom we can speak about the alliance,” he said in an indirect attack on Mr. Gandhi. “We were always of the opinion that parties with identical ideologies should come together, but recent comments made by the Congress Mumbai president and its former Chief Minister makes it seem like they don’t want an alliance,” he said.

Mr. Pawar, who shares cordial relations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, compared the situation after demonetisation and the Emergency. “Even after the Emergency was lifted, visible anger against the government was negligible. Initially, it was regarded as the best thing that happened to India. After two years, in 1977, people vented their anger through the ballot box. It has just been three months since It demonetisation.”

Criticising the BJP decision to give tickets to well-known antisocial elements, he said each party must define its boundaries. “I think people won’t buy the BJP’s argument this time. People will show their power to the BJP.”

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