Actor Sharad Ponkshe not related to NCP: Minister Jayant Patil

Mumbai: A day after actor Sharad Ponkshe shared the dais with NCP leaders at a press conference here, the party's state unit chief Jayant Patil on Wednesday said the former was not related to it and "will never be".

Ponkshe, also a writer, had played the lead in the controversial Marathi play 'Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy', based on Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.

The state water resources minister said Gandhi's assassination was the first "terror activity" in the country and the ideology the defends the killing too "certainly is wicked".

The actor had attended a press conference organised at the NCP's office here on Tuesday regarding the relief work carried out by the party's welfare trust during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

Both Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Patil were present at the press meet.

In a series of tweets, Patil said among others, the trust had provided an assistance of over Rs 30 lakh to backstage artistes during the lockdown period.

"Sharad Ponkshe had come to the party office along with Marathi Natya Parishad (theatre body) president Prasad Kambli and its office-bearers to express their gratitude for this (the help).

Ponkshe is not related to the party in any way beyond this and will never be," Patil tweeted.

The minister further said the NCP believes in the Gandhian ideology.

It is a "victory" of Gandhi's ideology that "people who defend his assassination have to thank those who are Gandhians", he said in his tweet.

Meanwhile, state Housing Minister and NCP leader Jitendra Awhad said it was "painful and unfortunate that wicked" Ponkshe shared the dais of the party.

"But @Jayant_R_Patil promptly cleared the party's position after the voices of progressive workers reached him," Awhad said on the micro-blogging site.

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