NCP leaders won’t comment on caste, religion anymore, assures Pawar | Mumbai news

Mumbai Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar sought to draw the curtain over the Brahmin versus non-Brahmin controversy in Maharashtra on Saturday and assured that no leader from his party would make comments against any caste or religion. The assurances were made in a meeting with various outfits representing the Brahmin community.

The move to pacify the community assumes significance in the backdrop of local body elections. Around 40 representatives from 10 outfits attended the meeting called by Pawar at Nisarg Mangal Karyalaya, Gultekdi in Pune.

“The first issue raised by the representatives was that there is unrest among the Brahmin community over the statements made by a few NCP leaders. I told them that it was already discussed in the party forum and all the leaders have been asked not to make any statement against any caste and religion and talk only about policy decisions,” Pawar told reporters after the meeting.

He further added, “Responsible people from responsible parties should intervene to clear misunderstandings of a community if it is creating any sort of unrest. They also should ensure that it will not be repeated.”

The NCP chief said that the representatives demanded the formation of an independent finance corporation dedicated for the Brahmin community to get a loan for setting up business on low interest rates. “I asked them to make a request with the chief minister in this regard and organise a meeting, where he will consider the demands that are reasonable in nature,” Pawar said.

Further talking about the statements against the community, Pawar said that NCP doesn’t support those statements and will caution the leaders who made them.

After attending the meeting with Pawar, Dr Govind Kulkarni of Akhil Bhartiya Brahman Mahasangh (ABBM), said, “We demanded a finance corporation that has been formed in five states such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Punjab. He has agreed to organise a meeting with the chief minister in this regard.”

NCP on Saturday clarified that they have decided to support Shiv Sena candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls that are slated to be held for six seats from Maharashtra on June 10. Pawar said that they have decided to keep up the promise made to the chief minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.

“As far as NCP is concerned, we have decided to contest one seat that we can win on our own, which will also leave us with a few surplus votes. Two years ago (during Rajya Sabha polls), we could have won just one seat but I requested the chief minister that we need two seats. He said for the next polls, you will support us (Shiv Sena), which was accepted. Thus, we cannot support any name other than Shiv Sena. We will transfer our votes to any one proposed by Shiv Sena, be it Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje or someone else,” Pawar said.

He added that Shiv Sena and NCP have enough votes to get elected one more candidate.

A row erupted after NCP legislator Amol Mitkari ridiculed Hindu rituals such as ‘Kanyadaan’ at weddings at a speech addressing NCP’s Pariwar Samwad Yatra at Islampur in Sangli on April 19.

Pawar too read out a poem penned by poet Jawahar Rathod that deals with the issue of casteism against the backward classes who are not allowed to enter the temples on May 9.

On May 14, Marathi actor Ketaki Chitale was arrested by Thane police over posting a derogatory post on social media platforms against Pawar. Chitale shared a ‘poem’ apparently allegedly written by one advocate Nitin Bhave which made fun of the NCP chief’s physical illness and described him as an anti-Brahmin leader who was destined to go to hell. The post contained phrases like “hell is waiting” and “you hate Brahmins” referring to the NCP chief.

Hemant Desai, a political analyst, said Pawar made an attempt to pacify the Brahmin community that was agitated over the statements made in the recent past.

“Pawar in the past had said that Swami Ramdas was not the guru of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, but Mitkari’s statement became a trigger point for the controversy. It sent a message that NCP is an anti-Brahmin party. The struggle between Brahmin and non-Brahmin is also not new in Maharashtra. Pawar tried to pacify the community in the light of the election of many corporations, especially Pune where the Brahmin community has a sizable population and BJP is in power,” Desai said.


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