MUMBAI: The newly-elected BJP MLC Gopichand Padalkar stirred controversy by referring to NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar as 'Maharashtra’s coronavirus'.
Reacting to the remark, former CM Devendra Fadnavis said that Padalkar might have commented that in jest and that the party did not support his stance.
“We withdraw this statement. We do respect NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Padalkar will also make a statement over it,” Fadnavis said.
Padalkar who was earlier with Vanchi Bahujan Aghadi led by Prakash Ambedkar and joined the BJP in recent state assembly election, contesting against against deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar in Baramati.
Meanwhile, NCP youth-wing burned Padalkar's effigy, called him as a puppet of Devendra Fadnavis and demanded actions against him for insulting the party supremo.
Maha Vikas Aghadi minister Jitendra Ahwad said that such a comment exposed BJP’s thought process and lack of respect for other party leaders.
“Sharad Pawar is a father figure for Maharashtra. His contribution to the development of the state is immense and the BJP leaders call him as a coronavirus. This is not only unfortunate but shameful act. The statement withdraw should withdraw and we demand the public apology from Mr Padalkar,” Ahwad said.
Sunil Tatkare, senior NCP leader also said that they condemn Padalkar's statement.
“We are against the use of such shameful language against any leader. Sharad Pawar is the tall leader of India and the BJP MLC called him a virus. This has exposed the BJP and its thinking towards the senior leaders,” Tatkare said.