Farmers are being looted, says Sharad Pawar on low onion price

Mumbai: NCP president Sharad Pawar on Friday hit out at Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over low onion prices in Nashik district, accusing him and his government of not being concerned about farmers’ “loot”.Those talking about adopting Nashik were not concerned about local farmers’ woes, he said.

Ahead of Nashik Municipal Corporation polls last year, Fadnavis had said he would “adopt” the city if the voters reposed faith in the BJP. Pawar was speaking at an event in Mumbai Friday where former state legislator from Nashik, Apurva Hiray, returned to the NCP fold after quitting the BJP.

Referring to a comment made by senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal at the function, Pawar said, “Bhujbal talked about onions being sold at 50-51 paise per kg. “This is our (farmers’) loot. And those who talked about adopting the district (Fadnavis) are not concerned despite this loot,” he said. When he read about the chief minister’s comment, he was “surprised”, Pawar said. “Our forefathers are there to take care of us. We don’t need someone from outside to adopt us….The farmer community is our real father,” he added.

An onion-grower from Nashik who had to sell his produce for as little as Rs 1.5 per kg sent his earnings of Rs 1,064 to the Prime Minister’s Office recently.Another farmer from the district said on Friday that he sent Rs 216 to chief minister Fadnavis after selling his onions at a rate of Rs 51 paise per kg.

Bats for Muslims on reservation quota
Latching onto BJP chief Amit Shah’s remark that reservations can not exceed 50 per cent, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said Friday that the Maharashtra Chief Minister will have to show the “courage” to overrule Shah while granting quota to the Marathas. He also batted for quota for the Muslims, and questioned the BJP’s stand that reservations could not be given on religious lines.

The Maharashtra legislature on November 29 unanimously passed a bill providing 16 per cent quota in jobs and education to the Marathas, taking the overall reservations in the state to 68 per cent from the existing 52.
“He (Shah) has clearly said that reservations cannot be given above 50 per cent and demand for the same was not right. Now, it is the test of the chief minister (Devendra Fadnavis),” Pawar said.

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