At wife’s rally, Ajit Pawar’s ‘vote-for-funds’ jibe triggers Maharashtra row

Rohit Pawar, an MLA from NCP (SP), asserted that Ajit Pawar’s statements breached the election code of conduct.
NCP Baramati candidate Sunetra Ajit Pawar files her nomination for Lok Sabha elections in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Pune.
NCP Baramati candidate Sunetra Ajit Pawar files her nomination for Lok Sabha elections in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Pune. PTI

MUMBAI: Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has found himself embroiled in controversy due to remarks he made during the Lok Sabha election campaign late on Wednesday, in support of his wife, Sunetra Pawar He warned that he would only release development funds if voters supported her candidacy. Opposition parties have accused him of violating the election code of conduct and have called for actions to be taken against him.

Rohit Pawar, an MLA from NCP (SP), asserted that Ajit Pawar’s statements breached the election code of conduct. He highlighted a particular instance when Ajit Pawar spoke about fund allocation during a meeting. Rohit questioned, “What funds is Dada talking about? Are these funds held by their friends or are they government development funds? Since the public is not supporting, it constitutes a code of conduct violation to now threaten withholding funds! The Election Commission should take this seriously!”

Atul Londe, the chief spokesperson for the Maharashtra Congress, also criticized Ajit Pawar for his statements made during an active election period. “How can the DCM make such statements during an election? He has essentially threatened voters, saying that if they do not vote for his wife, he will withhold funds. This is a mockery of democracy and the election code of conduct.”

Londe further stressed the need for stringent action from the Election Commission to prevent any form of voter intimidation. “We expect the EC to take strong actions so that no one can threaten the voters. We need a free and fair election, which is currently not taking place,” Londe stated.

Rane gets BJP ticket, Shinde camp upset

The BJP on Thursday declared Union minister Narayan Rane from the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha constituency against Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Vinayak Raut. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena was keen to contest the seat, terming it their traditional seat, but BJP refused to concede it. Shiv Sena was planning to field Kiran Samant, brother of industries minister Uday Samant from the seat. “We are emotionally attached to this particular seat. Conceding Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha seat to the BJP means Shiv Sena will not contest even a single seat in the Konkan region where it had a traditional base,” said a Shiv Sena leader.

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