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Sharad Pawar questions if Modi had mandate for third term as PM; slams his poll statements

'His actions show that when the possibility of regaining power diminishes, one becomes restless,' Pawar said in a swipe at the PM.
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 20:00 IST
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 20:00 IST

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Pune: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the oath of office for a historic third successive term, NCP (SP) president Sharad Pawar on Monday sought to know whether he had a "mandate" to lead the country.

Pawar, a critic of the BJP, pointed out that the saffron party fell short of a majority in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections and had to take the support of its allies to form the new coalition government at the Centre.

He was speaking at a party congregation in Ahmednagar, around 125km from Pune, organised on the occasion of the NCP's 25th foundation day where newly-elected MPs of the outfit were felicitated.

"Narendra Modi took the oath as Prime Minister (on June 9). But before taking the oath, did he have a mandate of the country? Did the people of the country give him consent? They (BJP) did not have a majority. They had to take the help of the Telugu Desam Party and Bihar Chief Minister (Nitish Kumar)....because of them he could form the government," the Rajya Saba MP averred.

The former Union minister maintained the current BJP-led NDA government was different from the previous ones.

"During the election period, Modi, wherever he went (for campaigning), did not refer to the government as 'Government of India'...it used to be called Modi Sarkar, Modi's guarantee. Today that Modi guarantee is no longer there."

"Today it is no longer a Modi Sarkar. Today, because of your vote, they have to say today this is not a Modi Sarkar, it is the Government of India. Today because of you, they have to take a different approach," the veteran politician told the gathering, referring to the Lok Sabha poll results.

The post of PM is of the country and not of a particular party, Pawar said, adding the incumbent must think of all segments of society, castes and creeds.

"But Modi forgot to do this. I think he did it deliberately. Minorities like Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis are an important part of the country. They must have faith in the government but Modi failed to do this. In a speech, he spoke about a class of people having more children. It is clear he meant the Muslims," Pawar said.

"He (PM) said if power goes into the hands of these people, they will snatch away mangalsutras of women etc. Have such things ever happened in the country. He also said the opposition will take away one buffalo if anyone has two in case they come to power. Should a prime minister talk like this? Modi did not follow the restraints when it comes to criticising others," Pawar said.

The NCP(SP) chief also spoke about Modi calling him a "bhatakti aatma" (wandering restless soul) and said "it is good since the soul is eternal and that soul will not spare you".

Modi called the Shiv Sena (UBT) "nakli Shiv Sena" Pawar said and asked if someone occupying the post of PM should call anyone or a group as "nakli".

"His actions show that when the possibility of regaining power diminishes, one becomes restless," Pawar said in a swipe at the PM.

Speaking about the NCP(SP), Pawar said it would create a new and accomplished team to garner the support of people.

"Not only in Maharashtra, but we will also have to work in Haryana and Jharkhand where elections are scheduled to take place in the next three months and form governments," he said.

He asked party functionaries to strengthen the organisation and protect the interests of the marginalised sections of society.

He said people thought the Ram Temple construction would be relevant in politics but the BJP's candidate was defeated in Ayodhya itself.

"Tomorrow if I go to Ram Temple in Ayodhya, I will not use it for my politics. People of Ayodhya took note of the wrong done by Modi and ensured the defeat of the BJP candidate," he said.

Praising newly elected Ahmednagar MP Nilesh Lanke, who defeated BJP's sitting MP Sujay Vikhe Patil, Pawar said the former was criticised for not being able to speak in English.

"But one can speak in Hindi or his mother tongue," he added.

He said all eight NCP(P) MPs will get his guidance at all times, adding they would be the NCP's "ashtapradhan mandal" in Parliament the way "Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had ashtapradhan (group of eight ministers) mandal".

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Published 10 June 2024, 20:00 IST

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