Livid Sharad Pawar blinks his ‘third eye’ at rival NCP MLA

Pune, March 7 (IANS) The usually cool Nationalist Congress Party (SP) President Sharad Pawar became visibly furious at a legislator of the rival Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), who reportedly ‘threatened’ workers from attending a pre-election rally in Lonavala on Thursday.

The apparent provocation was a missive by ruling NCP MLA Sunil S. Shelke from the Maval Assembly constituency, who warned and threatened people from his region against attending Sharad Pawar’s rally on Thursday.

“We got hundreds of complaints from our local leaders, workers, and ordinary masses that they were warned of consequences if they dared to attend Sharad Pawar’s public meeting in Lonavala,” Pune NCP (SP) President Prashant Jagtap told IANS.

When Sharad Pawar was informed, his visage displayed signs of red rage — something that even people close to him have rarely experienced — as he decided to give a piece of his mind to the ‘irksome’ rival NCP MLA.

“If you threaten my people, then remember… I am called ‘Sharad Pawar’. I never traverse such a route (crooked), but if someone creates a bad situation, I will not spare them,” said the 83-year-old leader, as his supporters cheered and clapped.

Flexing muscles for good measure, he told Shelke: “Did you forget who made you an MLA? I had signed your nomination form with the party name and symbol for your (official) candidature.”

Sharad Pawar also reminded Shelke that as the (undivided) NCP President, he had gone to his rally, when he was struggling to become a lawmaker, filled up the election nomination form along with his (the NCP chief’s) joint signature, and yet he was issuing threats to his (NCP-SP’s) workers now.

Without taking names directly, Pawar also sternly admonished others who hijacked the NCP founded by him 25 years ago and for abusing and threatening the NCP (SP) workers on ahead of elections, even as over 100 workers from the rival NCP joined his party.

Rattled by Sharad Pawar’s unexpected tongue-lashing, a peeved Shelke denied that he harassed or threatened the NCP (SP) workers against attending the Lonavala rally.

Shelke also said that Sharad Pawar has never made personal attacks against anybody, but challenged the NCP (SP) chief to prove his allegations, or he would launch a tirade against him all over the state for “spreading falsehoods”.

BJP’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, meanwhile, frowned at Sharad Pawar’s remarks, saying they did not suit a person of his stature to use such language against a common MLA, and “this would lower his esteem” after putting in 55 years in public life.

Targetting the BJP, Sharad Pawar accused it of ‘misusing power’ and deploying central investigating agencies to harass political opponents, taking the names of ex-CM of Jharkhand Hemant Soren who is jailed, and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal who is being ‘hounded’.

A similar situation prevailed in Maharashtra with several leaders like Anil Deshmukh, Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Sanjay Raut, and others in jail for months on various charges or for criticising the government.

“We have seen PMs from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi to many others, but they never imprisoned journalists or editors for criticising them. There is no freedom of speech and expression left in the country now,” Sharad Pawar said.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected])



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