Birla's comments on Emergency not apt, don't suit stature of LS Speaker: Pawar

Soon after his election as Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla on Wednesday set off a firestorm by reading out a resolution condemning the imposition of Emergency as an attack on the Constitution by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar
NCP (SP) chief Sharad PawarFile Photo | PTI

KOLHAPUR: NCP (SP) president Sharad Pawar on Saturday said the reference to Emergency made by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla in his speech was not apt and did not suit the stature of his post.

Addressing reporters here, Pawar also said the sops announced in the budget presented by his estranged nephew and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday, was just an effort ahead of the state assembly polls to project that they are doing something massive.

Soon after his election as Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla on Wednesday set off a firestorm by reading out a resolution condemning the imposition of Emergency as an attack on the Constitution by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Referring to it, Pawar said, "The speaker's reference to the Emergency in his address did not suit the stature of the post. It has been 50 years since the Emergency, Indira Gandhi is no longer alive. So why is the speaker bringing up this issue now?" "Is it the role of the speaker to make a political statement? We think his statement was not apt.

The President's speech also had a brief mention of this issue.

"That was also not necessary," he said.

On Rahul Gandhi taking the Leader of Opposition's post, Pawar said the party with the most number of MPs in the Opposition gets to decide the Leader of Opposition.

"The MPs of the Congress decided to make Rahul Gandhi their leader. In one way, this is a representation from the new generation with a background in politics, and a willingness to put in tremendous effort. I am sure he will shine," he said.

NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar
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Pawar hit out at the BJP, saying that before making statements on Congress-mukt Bharat, the BJP should take note of how many seats it had before the Lok Sabha polls and how many it has after this election.

"The BJP does not have a majority in Parliament. Without Nitish kumar and Chandrababu Naidu, they would not have formed a government. Regardless of how much they try to hide it, the truth is clear - they do not have a clear mandate from the people of India," the veteran leader claimed.

On the state budget, he said, "What kind of a budget was this? Free education to girls, Rs 20,000 rupees for each 'dindi' (group) of the Pandharpur wari (pilgrimage) - everything was out in the public before it was presented in the Vidhan Bhavan.

It has two meanings - the tradition of keeping the budget under wraps has not been maintained and none of the provisions presented in the budget will see the light of day.

This budget has been presented keeping in mind the assembly elections due in 3 months.

There is no budgetary provision for the promises made in the budget.

How can I spend Rs 100 when I have Rs 70 in my pocket? This budget is only meant to show that we are doing something massive, but I am sure that people will not believe this, he asked.

"The questions the government has to answer is - what revenues have you gathered; how much do you want to spend, and how are you going to cover the gap between the two? How can the government promise to implement the assurance without making provisions for covering this gap? This budget does not have much meaning. I have doubts as to what extent they will be able to implement this budget," he said.

Speaking on the speculation that MLAs from the Ajit Pawar faction returning back to his party, Pawar said, "(Party's state unit chief) Jayant Patil and others are aware of this, I have not met anyone in person. Let's see who comes. Do you have a list of names?" Pawar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi held rallies in 18 constituencies (in Maharashtra) during the Lok Sabha poll campaign and In 14 of these constituencies, the Mahayuti candidate lost the election.

"I would like to request Modi ji to address as many rallies as possible in the upcoming assembly elections," he said.

Speaking about the MVA's preparations for the assembly polls, Pawar said the allies will take all decisions with consultations.

"Parties that supported us in the Lok Sabha elections as part of the INDIA bloc, like the PWP and AAP, will be included in the MVA," he said.

When asked about the MVA's prospects, he said In the Lok Sabha elections, the MVA was leading on 155 out of the 288 Vidhan Sabha seats in Maharashtra.

"If this continues for the assembly polls, it is obvious that we will form the next government," he said.

He attacked the BJP for "misusing" the central investigation agencies against political opponents.

"You put the chief ministers of two states in jail, of whom one was released yesterday. Then you put MPs or MLAs or ministers from West Bengal in jail. When lower courts pass verdicts against you, you appeal those decisions immediately and put leaders back in jail. It is clear that agencies are being purposely manipulated and misused," he charged.

Talking about the Delhi airport roof collapse incident, the former Union minister said projects are completed in a hurry, without checking the quality of work.

"Keeping elections in mind, projects have been announced, inaugurated and opened to public use. This is a direct result of that trend," he said.

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