Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra ministers 'committed' to luring leaders: Sharad Pawar

Pune: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday accused Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other BJP ministers of "committing themselves" to poaching leaders from other parties before the assembly election.

Pawar also accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of misusing probe agencies and state-run financial bodies to compel leaders to join their fold. "The chief minister and other ministers in the state government have literally committed themselves to this work (luring leaders of other parties). They are making phone calls to leaders of other parties and asking them to join," the NCP president said.

Citing an example of the alleged misuse of financial bodies, he said: "The sugar mill of (former MLA) Kalyan Kale in Pandharpur was in a difficult situation. The state government, by flouting norms, gave Rs 30-35 crore to it and asked him to join the BJP. Since he wanted to save his factory, he switched over." Pawar claimed that NCP state women's president Chitra Wagh, who had announced last Friday that she was quitting the party, was also forced to join the BJP by way of threats. "Wagh met me. She looked worried," Pawar said.

"She told me that there are some criminal cases against her husband. In addition to that, an ACB (anti corruption bureau) inquiry has been initiated against their cooperative institution. That is why she asked me to give her permission to join the BJP," he said. Pawar alleged that Kagal NCP MLA Hasan Mushrif was also made an offer by the BJP, but when he refused, the income tax department carried out raids at his premises in Kolhapur. Pawar added that Satara MLA Shivendraraje Bhosle and Ahmednagar MLA Sangram Jagtap are with the NCP.

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