Sharad Pawar slams BJP over pilot release claims

NASHIK: Former Union defence minister and NCP president Sharad Pawar lashed out at BJP for taking credit for the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman from captivity by Pakistan.

“BJP leaders are claiming that tough posturing by the Union government forced Pakistan to release Abhinandan. That country was duty-bound to release the IAF pilot since the Geneva Conventions were applicable in his case,” said Pawar.

“I would like to ask the BJP leaders that if the Union government is so strong, why has it still been unable to ensure the release of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been in Pakistan’s custody for the past two years,” he said.

Pawar was addressing party workers here. Senior party functionaries, including former deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal, were present on the occasion.

The NCP supremo described BJP as a “national calamity” and urged voters to ensure its defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, saying, “There is an imperative need for change in power at the Centre in the national interest. If BJP retains power after the general elections, it will mean inviting dictatorship and voters will not be even able to vote in future.”

He said that the country was fed up with Modi’s “false” promises and that the disappointment was reflected in the recent state assembly elections in three states where BJP lost power.

“To avoid the recurrence of debacle during the Lok Sabha polls, BJP is politicising the bravery of our armed forces, who destroyed terror camps in Pakistan,” said Pawar.

Pawar alleged that the BJP-led Union government had failed on all fronts. He also criticised Centre’s decision on demonetisation, saying that it did not yield any results.

Alleging that there was corruption in the Rafale deal, the former minister said the cost, Rs 530 crore per aircraft, was increased by the Narendra Modi government.

“There should not be an agent in defence procurement in the interest of the nation, but the Modi government involved an agent in the Rafale aircraft manufacturing while sidelining Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd which does not have long-term work orders,” said Pawar.

Pawar appealed to party workers to reach out to voters and inform them about the “misdeeds” of the BJP government. He also hinted at joining hands with all like-minded political parties and bringing them together to defeat BJP in the Lok Sabha polls.

Source: Times of India