Pawar delivers a stern warning: Don't mess with me

Pawar delivers a stern warning: Don't mess with me

NCP chief Sharad Pawar

In a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday said he does not mess with anyone on his own, but "shows the place" to someone who does so.

Pawar also accused Modi of seeking political mileage out of the valour shown by security forces post the Pulwama terror attack as the recrimination between the two leaders continued in the amidst of Lok Sabha election campaign marked by bitterness and acrimony.

Speaking at a poll rally in Gondia Wednesday, Modi had alleged Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders "were unable to sleep" as their "sleep was jailed in Delhi's Tihar".

He, however, did not elaborate.

At another public meeting at Wardha Monday, the prime minister had attacked Pawar, saying the veteran leader has lost grip over his party and that a "family feud" had struck it.

Speaking at an election rally here in central Maharashtra, an angry Pawar sought to return fire, making uncharacteristically strong remarks apparently targeted at Modi.

"We hail from the soil where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was born. We don't mess with anyone on our own, but show the place if someone does so," Pawar said as he canvassed for NCP candidate Ranajagjitsinh Patil here.

Pawar said Modi asks what he had done during his tenure as the Defence Minister.

The NCP leader was the Defence Minister between 1991 and 1993 when he was in the Congress.

Hitting back, Pawar said he did not allow attacks to take place in country as was the case under the Modi government's watch.

The Maratha strongman said Modi keeps saying that no development took place in the country in the past 70 years under previous governments and asked if it also included the dispensations led by BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998- 2004).

Pawar hailed former Congress Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi for their respective contribution towards nation building.

"The present prime minister uses valour shown by security forces for his campaigning. This government has been unable to ensure even the release of Kulbhushan Jadhav. Where has the 56-inch chest gone?" asked Pawar.

Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Modi had claimed at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh that only a person with a "56-inch chest" (implying a bold approach) could solve problems faced by the country.

Jadhav, a retired Navy officer, is in a jail in Pakistan, where he has been sentenced to death by a military court on charges of espionage.

Pawar said the Congress-NCP-led grand alliance had deliberately picked young candidates to contest the polls.

The Osmanabad constituency goes to the polls in the second phase of voting on April 18.