NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Monday mocked at Shiv Sena and lambasted the party chief Uddhav Thackeray, both critically and sarcastically, for issuing absurd statements against him in the backdrop of declaring support to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP Government in Maharashtra. “Uddhav Thackeray is playing double standard game,” said Pawar.
The Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, addressing a press conference on Sunday, had declared that his party would sit in opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly if the BJP takes direct or indirect support from the NCP to prove its majority in the House. “We will not participate in a State Government that depends on NCP’s support. Sharad Pawar always spoke against the BJP before elections. He also introduced terms like ‘Saffron Terror’ which are unacceptable to us. If the BJP wants to take support from such a party then we would prefer to sit in opposition,” said Uddhav and had added that the BJP must realise that Sharad Pawar was responsible for the collapse of Atal Behari Vajpayee Government in 1998; if the BJP wants to take support from such a leader then I have nothing to say.
Ripping apart the statements of Uddhav Thackeray word by word, the NCP chief Sharad Pawar, addressing a press conference on Monday said, “I had used the term ‘Saffron terror’ when I visited Malegaon after a bomb blast in a mosque there. The ‘Saffron terror’ term was not specifically used or attributed to BJP or any party. If Shiv Sena is so angry over the use of the word then how the party entertained me when I visited ‘Matoshri’ (the headquarters of Shiv Sena) twice. First to meet Balasaheb Thackeray and seek his support for candidature of Pratibhatai Patil in Presidential election and second time again for Pranab Mukherjee for the same purpose. That time Uddhav welcomed and entertained me. Now, after lapse of so many years, Uddhav is recalling the use of ‘Saffron terror’ word when the NCP has declared support to BJP. This is absurd,” said Pawar.
Coming clean on the fall of Atal Behari Vajpayee Government in 1998, Pawar said, “That time, I was Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha. It is the duty of a Leader of Opposition to push ruling party to corner. I did the same and fulfilled my responsibilities expected from a Leader of Opposition,” quipped Pawar and reminded Uddhav that he is President of the Committee that is building Balasaheb Thackeray Memorial at Shivaji Park in Dadar, Mumbai. “Uddhav should remember this before issuing weird statements against me,” said Pawar.
Talking on NCP declaring support to BJP, the NCP President said, “NCP is supporting BJP for stability. An instable Government will not be good for the State where farmers are facing various problems and several other issues are to be dealt with. Moreover, people don’t want fresh elections in State within a short period. However, NCP is not categorical on the nature of support to BJP Government. We may abstain during trust vote or support the Government from outside. Our main concern is stability,” said Pawar while addressing the press conference that coincided with beginning of Special Session of Maharashtra Assembly.