'Bharat Mata' row: Sharad Pawar says CM Fadnavis must stay neutral

Pune: In a veiled attack on Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over his remarks that "those unwilling to say 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' have no right to stay in the country", NCP chief Sharad Pawar today said a chief minister should not take a stand as he represents all sections.

"CM's position does not belong to any political party but is of the state and when he represents all the castes and religions of that state, he should not take such a stand," Pawar said while addressing a function in which he was given an award by a city-based social organisation.

Sharad Pawar

Fadnavis, who stirred a controversy with his remarks on Saturday, sought to temper them today by saying that the slogan "Bharat Mata ki Jai" has nothing to do with any religion.

Without naming the BJP and RSS, Pawar said,"Currently, there is an attempt to appoint certain people with particular ideology on different government committees and a group from Nagpur has an important say in this process".

He also criticised the government over the drought affecting many parts of Maharashtra, saying the government is "not serious enough to tackle the situation...and fearing riots over water, section like 144 was being imposed".

Pawar was referring to imposition of the order last month in drought-hit Latur prohibiting the gathering of more than five persons in areas around 20 water storage tanks until May 31 to avoid any possible violence over water.

On the occasion, Pawar donated cash worth Rs one lakh, which he recieved as part of the "Samajbhushan" award, to Naam Foundation of actors Nana Patekar and Makarand Anaspure to help drought-hit farmers of the state.

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