Ahead of the next month’s Maharashtra Assembly elections, Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar on Sunday took to the Facebook to make an appeal that his political rivals and media should not hit “below the belt” and rake up old issues.
Pawar, who came in for intensive flak for his comment on the drought situation last year, said he had apologised for it. “If there is no water in the dam, what can be done? Am I supposed to urinate in the dam or what,” Pawar had said, which kicked off a storm of protest, after which he apologised.
Pawar, in a statement circulated on Facebook by his followers today, said he should not have made the comment, but all efforts to persuade Bhaiyya Deshmukh, a Solapur-based farmer, to end his fast had failed. “Political rivals were using him to target the government which was making every effort to provide relief to the farmers,” Pawar said.
He later sat on a fast for ten hours at the memorial of the Y B Chavan, the first Chief Minister of the state, as a penance over his mistake, he said.
“The coming days will see hectic electoral politics. Please don’t hit below the belt and don’t rake up an issue which is a closed chapter,” he said.
Pawar also said that the media was not as aggressive 25 years ago as it is now. “If a politician made a slip of tongue, the media would be forgiving back then,” he said.
He said recently he aired some personal views in an informal gathering for journalists at his bungalow, but the statements made “breaking news” even before the interaction ended. “Was it right to publicise something said in informal chat?” he asked.
He was referring to his reported statement that he would not agree to become the Deputy Chief Minister if Prithviraj Chavan became the Chief Minister again.