Former Maharashtra chief minister and senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis has stepped in an attempt to douse the political fire over party colleague and MLC Gopichand Padalkar’s alleged unsavoury remarks likening veteran politician and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar to coronavirus disease on Wednesday, according to PTI.
Fadnavis said that Padalkar’s alleged remarks were inappropriate and a result of an “emotional outburst”. He added that he had spoken to the leader from the Dhangar community and told him that Pawar may be a political opponent but he was not an “enemy”.
“I had a word with Padalkar. I told him that though Pawar saheb is our political opponent he is not our enemy. I told him, forget Pawar saheb, making such remarks against any senior leader is not appropriate,” Fadnavis was quoted as saying by PTI.
A leader from the Dhnagar community, Padalkar had made the remarks in a press conference while dwelling on the alleged hardships faced by the marginalized communities over the years in Maharashtra.
“Sharad Pawar is coronavirus for Maharashtra. He has been leading the state for many years but he has only oppressed Bahujan people. I am sure that he will continue this in the future too,” Padalkar was quoted as saying by ANI.
His remarks led to an outrage among the NCP workers in the state, who held demonstrations and raised slogans against Padalkar in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, and in Beed, reported a news agency. The party has also announced a protest in Pune on Thursday on the issue.
Jitendra Awhad, NCP leader and housing minister in Maharashtra government, jointly run by the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress in a coalition, alleged that Padalkar was a political turncoat.
“The man who was begging to join the NCP, and was abusing (PM) Narendra Modi later, went and got a ticket from the BJP, so what is his locus-standi to attack Pawar in such derogatory terms,” Awhad asked.
Fadnavis said that any expression of opinion should be done using appropriate words. The leader of opposition in the state assembly further added that Padalkar had accepted that his statement was an emotional outburst against Pawar and that he will offer a clarification soon.