Not worried about desertions from NCP, claims Sharad Pawar

Pune: Asserting that he is not worried about people leaving his party, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday accused BJP of misusing power and agencies to poach leaders from opposition ranks. He, however, expressed confidence that the ruling party would get a "befitting reply" from the electorate on this in the forthcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls. "After BJP returned to power at the Centre, some people (in opposition) are feeling anxious. On the other hand, those in government are misusing power and poaching leaders from other parties and agencies are of great help," he said, citing the example of Income Tax raids on NCP MLA Hasan Mushrif in Kolhapur.

"Take the example of the IT raid in Kolhapur. He (Mushrif) was asked to come to the party (BJP) before this raid. When he refused, the IT raid followed," he alleged. Pawar went on to claim that Karnataka was an ideal example of what can be done using money power. "BJP leaders say their party is different from others, that it is a party with a difference. Now the people of the country have realised that difference. The difference is how a stable government can be destabilised using money or agencies and form a government by hook or by crook," he said.

"But I am sure in the elections, voters will give them (BJP) a befitting reply," Pawar told reporters on the sidelines of a book release programme here. "As far as I am concerned, I am not at all worried about the developments. In the 1980s, 60 of our people won. However, when I was abroad for 15 days, some people poached our men and only six people were left. But in the subsequent elections, all those who went that side got defeated and our new set of 60 people won," said Pawar.

"The situation is different now as lakhs of workers and youth who are not holding any position in the party are ready to take responsibilities. I am happy youth are getting opportunities," asserted Pawar. Talking about Sachin Ahir, who recently joined the Shiv Sena, Pawar said it was all right if some people had taken a different stand. When asked about some Assembly poll aspirants not turning up for NCP interviews in Solapur, Pawar said those whose tickets are confirmed need not appear for such interviews.

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