Mumbai: Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's jibe, that some people did nothing for farmers despite remaining union agriculture minister, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar on Saturday said that the PM should give statements keeping his constitutional stature in mind.
"The Prime Minister's post is an important post. A PM should give a statement keeping his constitutional stature in mind. I don't know why he targeted me. But I think whatever he said is because of the fact that he was not briefed rightly. Whatever statement the PM had made on me, I will respond to that by keeping the importance and dignity of the PM post," Sharad Pawar said as he addressed a press conference in Mumbai.
Sharad Pawar served as the agriculture minister in the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre between 2004 and 2014.
Sharad Pawar slams BJP government
"In 2004 assured prices for Rice, Wheet, Sugarcane and Soybean were raised to more than double. This changed the entire face of the agriculture sector of India. Several more decisions were taken between 2004 and 2014. In 2005 National horticulture mission was started. In the same period Rice and Wheat production increased manifold. The agriculture loan rates were brought down from 11 percent to 4 percent while some banks started lending at 0 percent up to ₹3 lakhs...." Sharad Pawar read out decisions taken by him in response to the PM's jibe.
"I'm doing this to put the records straight," he said.
Sharad Pawar also claimed that the fear of losing power might have pushed the PM to make such comments.
"He (PM) was there to seek Darshan of Sai Baba in Shirdi, what was the need to take Darshan of Sharad Pawar there. If you see the nationwide picture, there are a lot of states where BJP is not in power or either their government has come after some sabotage in other parties. And wherever there is a BJP government, they are on weak foot. This weakness and fear of losing power may have forced him (PM) to make such statements," Pawar added.
Further, the NCP supremo explained the crisis situation he faced during his 10-year tenure as the agriculture minister under the Congress regime.
"I want to make my stand clear on the statements made by PM Modi in Shirdi about my tenure as Agriculture Minister. I was Agriculture Minister for 10 years from 2004 to 2014. I had a crisis on the very first day of my tenure as Agriculture minister," Pawar said.
He further said, "I had to sign a document for import of food grains for the Public distribution system. If that was not done on time our PDS distribution would have been stopped. Subsequently, I decided to increase the minimum support price (MSP) of various crops, and the MSPs of some crops were increased manifold."
On the upcoming state assembly elections in various states, the NCP chief said that the situation is not in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Sharad Pawar slams BJP on Israel-Hamas conflict
Sharad Pawar further accused the central government of "being completely confused" on the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict."Palestine and Ghaza issue is such an issue that I have not seen any confusion during our previous governments. Our government took a stand on the issue but after a few days, our foreign minister took a different stand. India's policy has always been to support Palestine and the shift in India's policy about the Palestine and Gaza issue now is something I have not seen till now. But this government is completely confused on this issue," he said.
Reacting to PM Modi's remarks on Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut earlier today launched a scathing attack and said "Does the PM suffer from amnesia".