MUMBAI: NCP president Sharad Pawar has expressed concern over how “inexperienced” ministers in the Narendra Modi Government can “take the country forward” and warned that Modi’s hardline image could adversely affect foreign relations.
“The new government has some new ministers. It would be interesting to see how they perform. I think ultimately the Prime Minister will be burdened with their work,” Pawar said in an exclusive chat with Express on Wednesday.
In an apparent dig at Ministers Uma Bharti, Smriti Irani and Radha Mohan Singh he said, “The water resource minister’s job is not restricted to cleaning the Ganga. The minister has a huge task ahead in finding out an amicable solution on the water dispute with Bangladesh.”
“The HRD minister has to handle the IITs and IIMs and the agriculture minister has to maintain contact with at least 5,000 scientists. I don’t even know who the agriculture minister is. I think the PM will have to look into these portfolios. But we should give the new government some time to work before coming to any conclusion.”
His statement comes in the wake of Congress leader Ajay Maken’s remark that Irani, who is in charge of shaping the country’s education policy, was not even a graduate. The former agriculture minister termed the BJP’s claim that Modi’s invitation to Saarc leaders was a master stroke on foreign policy a “hype”.
“It is fine that they came and had a dialogue, but the world will not accept Modi because of his hardline image. The era of Atal Bihari Vajpayee was different. He was soft-spoken,” he said.
Pawar said the Modi Government had taken the decision to form an SIT on the issue of black money to please L K Advani.
“I don’t understand what they are trying to do. Are they going to investigate on who has black money stacked abroad or will they give concessions to those who voluntarily disclose details regarding it? The Supreme Court had asked the government to form an SIT on the issue. They have taken the decision to please Advani because he had made black money a big issue,” he said. He claimed that the effect of the “Modi wave” in the Maharashtra Assembly elections would depend on whom the BJP projected as its Chief Ministerial candidate. “Much will depend on who the BJP’s CM candidate will be,” he said.
The Maharashtra Assembly elections are due in September. Pawar, 73, will be in Mumbai for two days before he embarks on a three-day tour of the state to address partymen.