Sharad Pawar hits out at Fadnavis over wrestler jibe

NCP chief Sharad Pawar. (PTI File Photo)

On the last day of campaigning for the October 21 Maharashtra assembly polls, NCP chief Sharad Pawar once again lashed out at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for his "wrestler" jibe.

Hinting at the waning strength of Opposition parties, Fadnavis had said there was no "wrestler" left in the fray who can challenge the BJP-led alliance.

Addressing a public rally in Indapur in Pune district, where the NCP has pitted sitting MLA Dattatray Bharne against former Congress leader and current BJP contestant Harshavardhan Patil, Pawar referred to the CM's statement that no wrestlers are left in the Opposition camp.

"I would like to ask (the chief minister) what kind of wrestler do you have..The one who a few days ago was with one talim (Congress) and now joined another talim (BJP)," he said while taking a jibe at Patil.

"Talim" can be described as a traditional place to do workout for wrestling.

"The CM says they have wrestlers everywhere. I said, kid they are all wrestlers who do not know how to wrestle. He (Fadnavis) is trying to tell this to a person like me who is president of the Maharashtra State Wrestling Association," he said.

Pawar also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for attacking him during the poll campaigning.

"I feel that after taking my name the whole day, they must be taking my name in their sleep as well," he joked.

The NCP chief also hit out at Shah for questionning his contribution to Maharashtra.

"They ask me what Pawar saab did for Maharashtra... You are in power, you are in government and you are asking me what I have done. Entire Maharashtra knows what I have done," Pawar said.

Pawar said a loan waiver was granted to farmers when Congress-NCP government was in power.

"We set up industries, awarded 50 per cent reservation to women in local bodies, and renamed Marathwada University after Dr B R Ambedkar," the former chief minister said.

He singled out Shah during his speech.

"Did anyone know Amit Shah five years ago. After Modiji became chief minister (of Gujarat), Shah followed him. When Modiji became prime minister, Shah followed him to Delhi, and now he is asking me what I have done," he said.

Pawar alleged that 16000 farmers have committed suicide under the watch of Fadnavis government since 2014.

"Industries closed down while unemployment went up in Maharashtra. We need to change this as this government is only concerned about a handful of people and not about farmers and poor people," he said.

Earlier in the day, Pawar took a dig at BJP MLA from Karjat-Jamkhed, Ram Shinde, a minister in the state cabinet. Pawar's grandnephew Rohit Pawar is making an electoral debut from this constituency in Ahmednagar district.

"Given the huge public response to our rallies, the headlines in newspapers after the poll results (on October 24) will read 'No Ram left in the BJP in Karjat-Jamkhed'," he added.

"The youth in Karjat-Jamkhed is giving sleepless nights to the BJP. Hence, the chief minister had to hold three rallies here," Pawar said.

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