Taking a dig at Sharad Pawar over his comments on the nomination of Sambhaji Raje, a descendant of Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji, to the Rajya Sabha, a BJP journal said the remarks of the NCP Chief on the matter reflected his fear of declining support base in Maharashtra.
The BJPs swipe at Pawar in its fortnightly publication Manogat came days after Pawar took potshots at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over the Rajya Sabha nomination of Sambhaji Raje, a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Shahu Maharaj.
The write up took on Pawar over certain comments he had made on the issue, throwing references to history and politics of Maharashtra stretching back to the Maratha rule.
Pawar had said “It is a historical fact that Chharapati (the title used by Maratha rulers) had appointed Peshwas (prime minister of the Maratha empire). During the rule of Peshwas, Fadnavis (a post of minister in Peshwa period) had never appointed a Chhatrapati. But in this case (nomination of Sambhaji Raje), the Peshwas have appointed a Chhatrapati.
The BJP mouthpiece said that Pawar’s comments were a result of his envy of people coming from Hindutva fold ruling the state while he has become “helpless” in Maharashtra politics.
“Sharad Pawar had used the caste card many times before. During (Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana leader) Raju Shetty’s agitation for sugarcane farmers in 2012, Pawar mentioned Shetty’s caste and accused him of protecting his castes sugar factory owners,” the BJP publication stated.
“Pawar is frustrated as his support base in South Maharashtra is considerably declining. Kolhapur’s Sambhaji Raje appointment as Rajya Sabha MP disturbed Pawar a lot and he has not been able to digest his appointment. He fears that his support base will decline in the coming days,” it added.
It sought to know if Pawar had respect for the descendant of Shivaji, why did he not refer Sambhaji Raje’s name for a Rajya Sabha seat during the UPA regime.
Responding to the BJP’s charges, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said that Raje had been his party candidate for 2009 Lok Sabha election and that the leadership had at the time advised him to rethink his decision when he wanted to take up Maratha agitation.
“Whatever Pawar spoke is a fact and history cannot be denied. Why should the BJP be bothered about it when somebody is reminding them of history,” he added.