Pune: BJP chief Amit Shah Friday said his party would win Baramati Lok Sabha seat, a pocket borough of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, with a “huge margin” and stressed there was no “friendly fight” between the two parties.
Pawar’s daughter and sitting Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule is pitted against the BJP’s Kanchan Rahul Kul. Addressing a poll rally in Baramati, Shah said, “There was no plan to have my rally in Baramati as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is doing a great job and that is why the party had reduced (number of) my rallies in Maharashtra. However, there was a rumour doing the rounds that there is a friendly fight between BJP and Pawar.”
“I have come here to clarify that BJP is going to win Baramati seat with a huge margin. There cannot be a friendly fight here because the BJP is pulling out all the stops to win the seat,” he added. Challenging Pawar in his own bastion, Shah asked the people to “hit at the root”. “Today I have come here on his (Pawar) land. He is a very big leader. He was chief minister of the state, he was defence minister and agriculture minister in the Centre. Only Pawar saheb knows the art of being in power for the last 50 years,” he said.
“Pawar claims to have brought development to Maharashtra but I would like to ask him what exactly has he given to Maharashtra,” Shah said, adding that his party’s youth wing leader could debate with the NCP chief on this account. He said Maharashtra got Rs 1.15 lakh crore during the Congress-led UA regime while it had got over Rs 4 lakh during the current NDA dispensation. “Before Congress-NCP came to power, Maharashtra was a leader in all sectors, be it industry, agriculture, cooperatives, milk production etc. But after their rule, the state’s ranking went down. Now the Devendra Fadnavis government has once again put the state in the top position,” Shah claimed.
Praising Modi, Shah said the PM’s name was being chanted across the country as he had brought about huge transformation in the past five years, and change in the lives of poor people. Among the most important things Modi did was to end dynastic politics, he said. “The politics of sisters, nephews, daughters, nieces was rampant in the country. But Modiji put an end to this parivarwad,” he claimed. Shah lashed out at the Congress for not doing anything during its stint in power to eradicate poverty.
“Recently Rahul baba (Gandhi) said if they (Congress) come to power, they will eradicate poverty. I would like to ask him for how long are you going to say the same thing,” he asked, adding that former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi as well as UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi spoke on similar lines. He said Modi understood poverty as he hailed from a poor family. Lauding the prime minister for enhancing the country’s security, Shah said only “Pakistan and Rahul and company” were upset with the air strike post the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.
“These people were asking proof (of the air strike). Let me tell you the Army does not belong to any party, but to India and your are doubting them,” he said. He lashed out National Conference leader Omar Abdullah for demanding a separate prime minister for Jammu and Kashmir, and said the northern state would be part of the country irrespective of whether the BJP is in power or not. He also attacked the Congress for promising in its manifesto that the sedition law would be scrapped if it came to power.
Talking about the issue of infiltration, he said, “We identified 40 lakh such infiltrators through NRC (National Register of Citizens). But Rahul, Pawar saheb and company were upset.” He reiterated the BJP’s commitment towards expelling infiltrators, who the BJP chief referred to as termites, from the country. Pawar was MP from Baramati in 1984, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004, while Sule won in 2009 and 2014.
Kul, wife of Rashtriya Samaj Paksha MLA from Daund Rahul Kul, is contesting on the BJP’s lotus symbol unlike in 2014 when state minister Mahadev Jankar fought on his RSP symbol with support from the BJP. “Last time, Mahadev Jankar fell short by only a few thousand votes. But this time, we have not repeated that mistake and have fielded a candidate on the (BJP) party symbol,” Shah said. Sule had won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls beating Jankar by 69,000 votes, down from her 3.36 lakh victory margin in 2009 against the BJP’s Kanta Nalawade.