Erase ink, vote twice: Pawar to workers

Erase ink, vote twice: Pawar to workers

In a shocking advice to head-loaders, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has asked them to “take advantage” of the multi-phased elections in Maharashtra to “indulge in double-voting”, after ensuring that the voting ink was “erased from the finger”.

In a convention of head-loaders (locally referred to as Mathadi Kamgaar) in Navi Mumbai on Sunday, Pawar argued that this time the elections in Satara and Mumbai would be held on different dates, “and thus one can take advantage of this situation.”

According to the NCP leader: “First the head-loaders should go to their respective home villages in Satara (from where a majority of them hail) and vote in the polls scheduled on April 17.And then they should come to Mumbai and also vote in the elections scheduled here on April 24.”

He added a word of caution while doling out the bizarre advisory: “But you must ensure that you erase the indelible ink from your fingers – otherwise, there could be trouble.”

Even as the stunned audience tried to comprehend the odd statement from a politician known for his measured speeches, Pawar went on to say: “Last time (2009), the elections were held simultaneously in western Maharashtra and Mumbai-Thane on April 23. This time, the elections are being on different dates… So rectify the mistake this time.”

Strangely, Pawar then smiled and laughed at his audience.

In a missive to press, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said it would file a complaint with the Election Commission against Pawar for encouraging “corrupt practices in democratic exercises.”

The BJP’s leader of the opposition in the Legislative Council Vinod Tawde reacted mildly, saying the statement would invite the Election Commission’s provisions pertaining to bogus voting. However, he added that the party would lodge a complaint with the EC.

Later, at a hurriedly called press conference in the evening, Pawar said his statement “was simply a joke and not at all suggested commission of any act violative of the election laws or rules”.

“Firstly, I was not addressing any public or election meeting. It was a meeting on the occasion of the 32nd death anniversary of the late Annasaheb Patil, where mathadi workers had assembled to pay homage to the departed leader,” he said.

“Secondly, my statement was simply a joke and not at all suggested commission of any act violative of the election laws or rules,” Pawar said.

NCP chief calls Modi ‘ignoramus’

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday called the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi a politician who is “myopic, and an ignoramus who does not have an iota of knowledge of history”, reports DHNS from Mumbai.

Addressing a rally in Navi Mumbai, the NCP chief said during the drought-stricken period last year, “the Gujarat administration was forced to file an FIR at Mehsana against its own people for providing cattle feed to affected areas. And what were the charges? The charges were of corruption. Feed stock had been diverted.”

Sharpening his attack further, but without naming Modi, Pawar said: “How can any person with a myopic view (and) harbouring intense parochial attitude even think of leading a country?”

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