Sena leaders should contest polls, face people: Pawar

"Let them (Thackerays) contest any elections and face the people, rather than just giving orders," he said addressing an extended working committee meeting of the party here. Pawar's statement comes in the backdrop of the Sena targeting him on plans to shift the statue of Dadoji Konddeo, who mentored Shivaji Maharaj during childhood, from the historic Lal Mahal in Pune.

"If you want to remove Dadoji's statue, then replace it with statues of Sharad Pawar and Suresh Kalmadi," Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray had said.
Certain political parties are engaged in biased criticism of the NCP with sole aim of creating disillusionment among masses who are backing the party, Pawar said in the meeting. Pawar lauded the UPA government for doing "credible things to improve the conditions of the farmers who constitute a large number of the country's population."
Under the UPA regime, India has achieved large scale agriculture production which was never there during the NDA government, Pawar said.

The UPA government increased central food subsidy from Rs 72,000 crores to Rs 3.55 lakh crores, he said adding the increase in minimum support price of wheat and rice has enabled the Indian farmer to undertake large scale cultivation of food grains. "This year the monsoon has been good and another good yield is expected," Pawar said. The food ministry has been successful in bringing down the losses in food grain over the years," he added.

He ridiculed BJP members of Parliament for stalling the House proceedings, demanding increase in MPs salaries. The BJP is making an issue out of a non-issue only to distract the people of this country, he said.

Pawar expressed satisfaction that the NCP is the "only party which thinks seriously about environment protection" and welcomed initiatives taken by NCP state chief Madhukar Pichad to strengthen the party cadre by implementing various policies for empowerment of youth and women. The NCP will be completing training programmes for its cadre across Maharashtra before December 1 this year.

Besides rising inflation, rotten stocks of food grains, IPL T20 matches, Pawar's name has been cropping up in the proposed airport in Navi Mumbai and Lavasa Hill Station project, over his alleged involvement through close associates and friends. A senior NCP leader said there have been systematic attempts to malign Pawar's image keeping an eye on the next general elections.

Civil aviation minister Praful Patel, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Chhaggan Bhujbal, ministers Ajit Pawar, R R Patil, Jayant Patil, Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule, former minister Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, other ministers, MPs, MLAs, district unit presidents and office bearers were present in today's meeting.

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