Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that he will not a utter a word against estranged BJP ally Shiv Sena during the campaign for the October 15 Maharashtra polls as a mark of respect to Bal Thackeray.
On the second day of his poll campaign in Maharashtra, Modi launched a blistering attack on NCP chief Sharad Pawar, saying he lacks the qualities of Maratha leader Shivaji and “failed” to address the water woes of the people of the state as Chief Minister and Agriculture Minister.
Talking about BJP’s estranged ally Sena, he said, “Political pundits are saying why Modi not criticising Shiv Sena in his speeches (during poll campaign). This is the first election in absence of late Bal Thackeray, for whom I have great respect. I have decided not to utter a single word against Shiv Sena. This is my tribute to Balasaheb Thackeray”.
PM Modi, who began his speech in Marathi, launched a scathing on Pawar for his comments about Shivaji “plundering” the treasury of Surat.
“Pawar’s statement has hurt me deeply. You don’t have knowledge of history. Gujarat was part of Maharashtra prior to its formation in 1960. We have considered Maharashtra as big brother,” he said.
“We never thought what you said. I want to ask Pawar: you speak of Shivaji. It was the Vajpayee government which named Mumbai airport after Shivaji. You were CM but did not think of it. Even Victoria Terminus was named Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus by Vajpayee government,” the PM said.
“There is no chance of you (Pawar) getting Shivaji’s qualities in your character. But as agriculture minister, had you implemented Shivaji’s water management techniques, farmers of Maharashtra would not have committed suicide,” he said.
“I am amazed. Pawar was the Union Agriculture Minister. But in his Maharashtra, around 3,700 farmers commit suicide every year,” Modi said.
“Stop challenging our ‘Shiv bhakti’,” he emphasised.
At a recent poll rally, Pawar had attacked the BJP, saying that the people who had termed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj a ‘looter’ were invoking the warrior king to seek votes.
Attacking the Congress and NCP, Modi said that both are of the same mould as far as corruption is concerned.
PM Modi began his speech by hailing Chhatrapati Shivaji and paid tributes to Ganesh and Piroba deities. “Sangli, sarvat changli (Sangli is the best of all),” he said.