Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday clarified that the opinions expressed by his son, Parth Pawar, in a series of tweets on the Maratha quota issue were his own and not that of the NCP’s.
Parth, who is the grand-nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, had stirred up a political controversy yet again with a string of tweets expressing anguish over the alleged suicide of a Maratha youth, while chastising his own Maha Vikas Aghadi government (of which the NCP is part of) for not doing enough to ensure justice for the Maratha community.
Speaking in Pune, Mr. Ajit Pawar said with mock-irritability that he had more important things to do than commenting on his son’s tweets. At the same time, he said that everyone had a right to express their opinions by tweeting whatever they felt.
“These days, youngsters tweet avidly and on a myriad number of issues…each time, I am asked to comment on my son’s tweets. I have more important responsibilities…Supriya Sule [Baramati MP and Mr. Ajit Pawar’s cousin] has already said that his [Parth’s] tweets do not necessarily reflect the party’s stance on an issue,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.
Mr. Pawar, however, stressed that the MVA government and the NCP were of the firm opinion that both the Maratha and the Dhangar communities must get their due rights and that the State government was fully behind them.
On Wednesday night, Parth had taken to Twitter to plunge into the politicised arena of the Maratha quota imbroglio after a student from Beed district allegedly died by suicide.
“The future of an entire generation is at stake. I have no choice but to approach the Hon’ble Supreme Court and file an intervenor application in the Maratha reservation matter pending before it… I am ready to carry the burning torch of Maratha agitation in my heart and knock the doors of justice…,” he had tweeted, while announcing that he would be filing an intervention application before the Supreme Court over the Maratha quota issue despite the State government already having filed an application last month seeking to vacate the stay on the implementation of the Maratha quota law in the State.
Parth’s tweets had drawn the contempt of Maratha outfits like the Sambhaji Brigade, who accused him of brazen opportunism while stating that he had never once spoken out in the past when several Maratha youths had taken their lives nor had ever participated in any of the quota agitations.
The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, however, had expressed subtle approval of Parth’s remarks, stating that they merely illuminated the failure of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government for failing to strongly defend the Maratha quota law in the SC.
More importantly, Parth’s positions on recent matters have triggered tremors of suspicion that all is not well within the Pawar family. In August, a vexed Mr. Sharad Pawar, in an uncharacteristic public admonishment of a family member, had slammed his grand-nephew’s contrarian stance in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, dismissing Parth as “immature”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ajit Pawar strongly condemned the horrific Hathras rape incident in Uttar Pradesh, stating that such atrocities were intolerable regardless of whichever party was in power.
“There are no words to condemn the crime that occurred at Hathras…such atrocities and grisly violence against women and backward caste community members are a blot on humanity. Unfortunately, after a few discussions and displays of righteous anger, these incidents are forgotten. The Centre must make stronger laws to deter such crimes from happening again,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.
Hitting out at the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government for obstructing Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Pawar said that unless political leaders or social activists were permitted to meet with the kin of the victim, the truth would never emerge.
“How is one to get to the bottom of these crimes unless elected representatives are allowed to meet the victim’s relatives and present their version in Parliament or in the Assembly?” Mr. Pawar said.