Ajit Pawar blames Centre for demonetisation woes, says NCP would lead in Maharashtra civic polls

Nagpur: Nationalist Congress Party leader and former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar came down heavily on the Centre on Friday for its demonetisation move saying that the cash crisis won’t go away even after the 50-day deadline that ends on 30 December.

“In new year too, the poor and needy people will continue to stand in long queues daily and still they won’t have sufficient money in their hands. Demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes has badly affected the rural economy especially farmers and daily workers,” Pawar told Fistpost in an exclusive interview.

NCP leader Ajit Pawar. PTI

NCP leader Ajit Pawar. PTI

NCP leader Ajit Pawar. PTI

The NCP leader questioned the sudden shift of focus of the Central government from combating black money to going towards a cashless economy.

“People stood with Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s demonetisation decision to support his war on black money. But after one week the Prime Minister changed his focus towards a cashless economy. So people who live in semi-urban and rural areas think that it was just a ploy to win polls. But I personally wonder how Modi hypnotised the citizens of the country where everyone is suffering but waiting for the 50-day deadline to get over,” said Pawar.

He said that even after 40 days it now looks like a decision gone wrong as the ATMs are also dry on cash.

“We are seeing it on TV every day how the hoarders have managed to siphon off new currency notes of Rs 2,000 while the common men are still queueing up for cash. People got their salaries but they cannot withdraw it due to insufficient money in banks. Terrorists have managed to get hold of the new Rs 2,000 notes but the common man still does not have money which he earned,” the NCP leader said.

Buoyed by the cash management problems post demonetisation and the flak that BJP is receiving for it, Pawar was hopeful that his party could see better days ahead as the ongoing civic are already an indication to that.

“I am confident that in the next 100 days there are 24 Zilla Parishad and 297 Panchayat Samiti elections that would be held by March 2017. The NCP will bounce back as the number one party in the state. After almost 30 months (of BJP’s ruling) at the Centre and two years in the state, the situation has become worse day by day. People are waiting for acchhe din which BJP assured during the election campaign,” the NCP leader said.

In the second phase of civic polls, BJP won five municipal council president posts out of 14 whereas NCP became the largest party by winning 93 corporators in Pune and Latur districts. BJP is at number two position with 81 corporators.

“If you study the first phase and second phase of council polls you observe that the number of BJP corporators has dropped. In the third and fourth phases of council polls NCP will deliver good results compared to the first phase,” Pawar said.

The NCP leader said that his party has a strong footing in rural Maharashtra.

“Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis personally campaigned ahead of the Baramati council election against me. But the results show that the voters are standing with me. I personally thanking the people of Baramati. We developed the city and voters stand by the party which vouches for development. In this election, BJP is using all tactics to become the number one party. Since the BJP is in power, I can frankly say that it is giving the ruling party some benefits in these polls,” he said.

In the first phase of council polls, the ruling BJP had won the highest number of seats with 893 out of the total 3,727 seats. It had also won 51 municipal council president posts, followed by Shiv Sena at 25, Congress 23 and NCP with 18 in the same category.

The NCP leader said that the Chief Minister was determined to break the Pawar bastion in Baramati and despite having several meeting with guardian minister Girish Bapat, the NCP won 35 out of 39 seats including the post of the president.

In the no holds barred interview, Pawar admitted to being a loudmouth earlier and for which he had to pay a heavy price politically.

“I am not a soft spoken leader. Whatever is there in my mind I always speak out in front of anyone. I am already facing punishment for that. But the reality is now I am controlling myself. I have never lied in my life. I don’t give false promise to anyone,” he said.

However, as opposed to his claims on the principles of truth he adheres to, Pawar was fast to juxtapose it with the campaign style of the BJP.

“BJP is using all the global mantras of marketing. BJP is good in marketing. We are far away from this marketing tantra. They always blamed us but we failed to counter them. But now people know the reality and the common man would teach a lesson to them,” the NCP leader said.

Although he did not dwell upon the matter much, the NCP leader was optimistic that he would come clean of the irrigation scam that he has been linked with for the last couple of years.

“There was only an allegation on me with regards to the irrigation sector. The matter is in court I could not comment on it. But I will come out clean. I am fully cooperating with the Anti-Corruption Bureau,” Pawar said.

First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 11:23 IST

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