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Democracy in India in peril due to Modi: Sharad Pawar

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 8, 2019  | 20:33 IST

(Eds: Adds quotes, Pawar's tweets) Amravati (Maha), Apr 8 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a "national calamity" who needs to be defeated in the Lok Sabha polls to safeguard the nation, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said here Monday. Claiming that the country's democracy was in "peril" and holding Modi solely responsible for it, Pawar wondered whether democracy will survive in the country if the BJP manages to retain power following the general elections. Canvassing for Navneet Rana, the Yuva Swabhiman Paksh candidate from Amravati Lok Sabha constituency here in Vidarbha region, he dubbed Modi a "national calamity" and said the prime minister should not talk about the ability of the opposition parties to lead the country. "We can run the country well. Modi need not worry about our ability," Pawar said. The Yuva Swabhiman Paksh is part of the grand alliance formed by the Congress, NCP and other parties against the BJP-Shiv Sena combine in Maharashtra. On Modi alleging at Wardha poll rally that Pawar has lost grip on the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) which has been "wrecked by a family feud", the former Union minister fired a broadside saying, "I am happy in my home. You (Modi) need not worry. You never had a home in your life." Modi and Pawar have been at loggerheads of late after the prime minister fired the first salvo during his rallies in Vidarbha's Wardha and Gondia districts last week. After addressing the rally, the NCP chief wrote on Twitter, "The situation across the country is worrying, the country's democracy is in peril. The only person responsible for this is Prime Minister @narendramodi. It is a question if the democracy will survive if the government of people following this ideology comes to power again." He also claimed on the microblogging site that experts feel elections won't be held in the country again if Modi is re-elected. "But I have huge confidence in the people. They will favour democracy when it comes to saving democracy," Pawar added. He accused the Modi government at the Centre and the Devendra Fadnavis dispensation in Maharashtra of having hoodwinked the people of the country by not fulfilling pre-poll promises. The NCP chief observed that former advocate general of Maharashtra Shrihari Aney had moved court against Maratha reservation, while the quota given to Muslims was taken away as soon as the Fadnavis government was formed in October 2014. "Hence, there is no other alternative but to defenestrate this government," he said in another tweet. Hitting out at Modi for not visiting Mahatma Gandhi's Sevagram Ashram during his Wardha tour on April 1, Pawar said Modi claims to be a Gandhian and gets pictures clicked of himself spinning the 'charkha' but did not deem it fit to pay tribute at the ashram. Training his guns at the Modi government over farm distress, the NCP chief said it did not probe farmer suicides or study their issues for framing agricultural policies. "The UPA waived farm loans worth Rs 71,000 crore. Modi asks me why there are farmer suicides. He is in power but is pinning the blame on me," the former Union agriculture minister told the well-attended rally. On national security, the NCP chief said the prime minister, with his "self-proclaimed 56-inch chest" style of governance, took credit for the anti-terror air strikes by the IAF deep inside Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack, but was unable to bring back former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who in Pakistani jail on espionage charges. "Modi criticised (former prime minister) Manmohan Singh for communicating with Pakistan after a terror attack and had asked the government to stop writing love letters to that country. What is the situation now? "In 2014, there were 267 attacks. In 2015, there were 208 and in 2016, the number of attacks was 218. Where is the 56-inch chest?" Pawar taunted. Accusing the Modi government of attacking the country's institutions such as the judiciary, the CBI and the Reserve Bank of India, he claimed that the BJP wanted to change the constitution. "It is time to defeat the NDA and only the UPA can do that," he told the gathering. At a poll rally in Gondia last week, Modi had also said that "NCP leaders were unable to sleep as their 'sleep' was jailed in Delhi's Tihar". The prime minister had not elaborated, but it is believed that he was referring to the arrest of corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar in connection with some deals. In response, Pawar said he does not pay heed to "criticism by every Tom Dick and Harry". PTI ENM/CORR BNM VT RSY NSD NSD

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