MUMBAI: Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Sharad Pawar and his kin of "enslaving" people in his stronghold Baramati, the NCP chief today hit back at Modi, saying he was compromising the prestige of PM's post by lowering the standard of public debate with personal attacks.
"Prime Ministership is an institution and maintaining its dignity and prestige is the duty of one and all. It is sad that prestige is not being maintained.
"The Prime Minister's position is being undermined and the standard of public debate has been lowered by those occupying it. Personal attacks are given priority in speeches," Pawar said here at an interaction organised by the Mantralaya and Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh, an association of reporters who cover legislature and government.
At an election rally in Baramati earlier this week, Modi had said NCP's election symbol 'clock' symbolised their misdeeds. He also alleged that senior Pawar and his nephew and former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had enslaved the people of Baramati with their domination in all spheres of life.
Taking strong objection to pictures of Modi and his speeches in the US being used as campaign material for the BJP in Maharashtra, Pawar said, "Modi visited the US as Prime Minister of the country and not leader of BJP. It is unfortunate that his speeches are being shown as part of the party's campaign and it is height of misuse of power."
Replying to questions, Pawar said it was too early to assess Modi's performance as Prime Minister since May.
"However, he has to focus on priorities. At least appoint a full time Defence Minister so that the morale of the forces on the borders is boosted. Ceasefire violations are happening on daily basis," Pawar said rejecting Modi's charge that border tensions are being politicised.
To a query on Modi's campaign in the state, the former Agriculture Minister said every politician has the right to campaign for his party but state issues are highlighted in
Assembly polls. He said the national leadership should fulfil its responsibility of looking after border tensions and take steps to boost the morale of the Army.