Veteran leader Sharad Pawar today took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his past comment about learning from him in politics.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader was asked by a reporter to react to PM Modi’s comment – “Sharad Pawar ki ungli pakad ke rajniti mein aage bade the“, loosely translated as “entered politics with Mr Pawar’s guidance”.
The reporter said: “PM Modi says he entered politics holding your finger.”
Mr Pawar quipped: “I had no idea that it would cost me so much.”
In the same interaction, Mr Pawar, 81, said he did not want to take up any responsibility at his age, apparently distancing himself from the race for an opposition prime ministerial candidate for the 2024 national election.
“I will only help bring together non-BJP parties to generate public opinion against the BJP,” he said.
Mr Pawar said the BJP-led government at the centre had failed to keep the promises it had made since it first came to power in 2014, including “bringing acche din (better times), connecting villages through the internet, providing toilets, water, and power to every household”.
The BJP is using central agencies to push its agenda to keep smaller parties from power and removing them from opposition-ruled states, said the former Union Minister.
“What BJP is doing against its opponents is nothing but an attack on parliamentary democracy which is a matter of serious concern. In all the non-BJP-ruled states, the saffron party is trying to split legislators and capture power. Maharashtra is the latest example,” Mr Pawar said, referring to the BJP-backed revolt in the Shiv Sena that led to the fall of the four-year-old Sena-NCP-Congress government.