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Sharad Pawar denies BJP's allegation of scripting Jarange's statements

The senior leader said he has spoken to the Maratha quota activist only once.
Last Updated 27 February 2024, 15:31 IST

Pune: Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday termed as "childish" the Bharatiya Janata Party's allegations that he was behind Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange's controversial statements.

He spoke to Jarange only once, and the government can even check his call records, the veteran leader told reporters after reviewing election preparations of his party in the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency, his home turf.

"People in such important positions are making childish statements. I had not heard such statements before," Pawar said when asked about state BJP leaders' claim that Jarange was speaking Pawar's "script".

When the activist launched his indefinite fast for Maratha quota last year, he was among the first politicians to meet him, the NCP chief said. "I told him during that meeting that I understand his demands but advised him to ensure there was no division between two communities. That was my first and the last conversation with him. They can check my call records," Pawar said.

Earlier in the day, Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar directed the government to set up an SIT to probe Jarange's remarks against Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Jarange had alleged that Fadnavis was trying to kill him. The deputy CM said in the House he had no complaints against Jarange, but the SIT will investigate whose "script" he was speaking.

Meanwhile, to a question about his political opponents' possible strategy to confine him to campaigning in Baramati in the coming Lok Sabha elections, Pawar said it would not work. "I contested 14 elections (from Baramati), of which seven elections were of state assembly, but I never got stuck in Baramati," he said, adding, "there is no question of getting stuck this time."

Asked about Sunetra Pawar, the wife of his nephew and Maharashtra deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, visiting Baramati frequently and taking part in public programmes ahead of elections, the senior Pawar said every one has a right (to have political ambitions) in democracy and there was no reason worry about it. Speculation is rife that Sunetra Pawar may contest from Baramati as the candidate of the Ajit Pawar-led NCP, taking on incumbent MP and Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule.

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(Published 27 February 2024, 15:31 IST)

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