MUMBAI: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said he was surprised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comment that his government never discussed a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Pawar said President Ram Nath Kovind had talked about the government's plan to implement NRC across the country in his joint address to Parliament. Even Home Minister Amit Shah had also spoken on this issue in Rajya Sabha, Pawar told reporters here.
Modi on Sunday said the nationwide NRC has not been discussed by his government and noted that it has been carried out only in Assam so far following the apex court's order. Pawar said he was surprised by Modi's comments, made during a rally at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi.
"When a major policy is brought, a discussion takes place at the government level. Such a policy will not come before the country without that. Secondly, the country's home minister had said in Parliament that they will bring NRC across the country," Pawar said.
He recalled the President too had talked about implementing the NRC across the country. Pawar said that the President's speech reflects the government's policy. "Now to say there was no discussion on this (NRC in the Cabinet) is not right," he added.
"I think the government has failed on every front. To divert attention of the public at large from such a situation, they are raising such issues and giving such speeches. Beyond that there is nothing in it," Pawar added.
Pawar also accused the Modi government of not handling the country's economy properly. The BJP used financial might to retain power in Jharkhand but the people there rejected it, Pawar said, as the JMM and Congress appeared set to form government there.
On the Jharkhand poll results, Pawar said the people there have given a befitting reply to the BJP which would talk of "anyhow" forming the next government in the state.
"Situation in Jharkhand is different from other states. It is an adivasi-dominated state, poverty is more. In such a situation, the BJP tried to use financial strength to retain power. But I am happy the people of Jharkhand have not accepted (the BJP). I want to thank the people of Jharkhand," Pawar said.
Pawar said the NCP leaders in Jharkhand told him that the local people did not trust the BJP-led government as it ignored development there, while the Citizenship Amendment Act and NRC created rift among the people leading to the BJP's defeat.
"It is the defeat of BJP. Those who are leading the party will have to take responsibility for it, be it the prime minister or the party president," Pawar said, when asked if the defeat was Modi's responsibility. Jharkhand was the fifth state the BJP lost after Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra in a year, he said and added such downward trends are difficult to stop.