Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has showered praise on Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and her son and party president Rahul Gandhi. Speaking at an event in Satara district of Maharashtra, the former Union Cabinet minister said that people should feel proud of the Gandhi family as they continue to serve the poor despite the assassination of late prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
“Such sacrifice by a family. Indira Gandhi was killed. Rajiv Gandhi was killed. We should feel proud if Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi are continuing to serve the poor notwithstanding these two killings,” PTI quoted Pawar as saying.
Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for targeting the Gandhis, the Maratha strongman said the country’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru spent years in jail during the British rule, while Indira Gandhi protected interests of the poor when in power. He alleged that the saffron outfit was pitting communities against each other as it did nothing on the development front as was promised to the people.
“Generations of Gandhi-Nehru family have contributed to country’s development and made sacrifices. If today, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are working with the same sentiment of serving the poor then we should respect them. But PM only says that one family ruined the country,” ANI quoted Pawar as saying.
For accusing the Gandhi family of ruining the country, Pawar attacked Modi and charged him with doing nothing ‘when innocents were being killed in Gujarat’ during his tenure as chief minister of that state. According to news agency PTI, Pawar did not mention any specific incident in his speech, but he was apparently referring to the 2002 riots in Gujarat.
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“You (Modi) were in power in Gujarat. Innocents were killed there. What you did there? People were burnt but (you) did nothing,” added the former Maharashtra CM, who quit the Congress party and formed the Nationalist Congress Party in 1999.
The Maratha strongman also raised questions over the recent acquittal of Gujarat’s 22 accused, most of them policemen, in the alleged fake encounter killings of gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife, and an aide.