Alleging that the Centre is "using" the Enforcement Directorate (ED) "to pressurize Opposition leaders", NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that the agency "was never used before" the way it is being used these days.
He further alleged that ED raids have not only been taking place in Maharashtra, but in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, and some southern states.
Pawar while speaking to reporters at the inauguration of the APJ Abdul Kalam e-Learning School here today, said, "It (ED) was never used before the way it is being used these days. It is clear that the government is using this agency to pressurize the Opposition leaders. It (ED raids) is not happening only in Maharashtra but in MP, Rajasthan, Punjab, and some southern states also." He further said, "The Central government has asked state governments to take appropriate measures to contain COVID. The Chief Minister and the State government are doing that. Everyone has the right to protest in democracy but when the Central government takes a stance, their party (BJP) workers should also follow that." Responding to a question on the opening of temples in Maharashtra, Pawar stated that as per the Centre's directions, the state government is taking precautions ahead of a suspected third wave of COVID-19. He further stated different constituents in a democracy have the right to have a different opinion but they should accept the state's decision which is in accordance with the Centre's orders.
Further speaking about the ongoing farmers' agitation against the three new farm laws and the lathi charge on farmers in Haryana, Pawar alleged that the Centre has been completely ignoring the farmers who have been protesting for 14 months now.
"For about 14 months now, the farmers have been protesting on the streets, leaving behind their homes. A sensitive government would have paid attention to the issue but unfortunately, the Central government has completely ignored the farmers," said the NCP chief.
Speaking about his association with former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam, Pawar said, "When I took charge as the Defence Minister of India, there is a process to depute a scientist as the scientific advisor to the Defence Minister of India. Dr. Abdul Kalam worked with me as my scientific advisor for two years when I was the Defence Minister. You would be surprised to know that he took only Rs 1 from his salary and contributed the remaining amount to the school where he studied."