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Pawar Play! Vote for Supriya Sule or lose water, 'threatens' Ajit

Maha Deputy CM Ajit Pawar courts fresh controversy after he allegedly threatens to cut off water supply to a village in Baramati if they didn't vote for his cousin Supriya Sule, daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar

Pune: Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar has landed in a fresh controversy after a video purportedly featuring him surfaced in which he allegedly threatened to cut off water supply to a village if people there did not vote for his cousin Supriya Sule, daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Ajit PawarMaharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar. File Pic

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate for Baramati and former IPS officer Suresh Khopade has alleged in his complaint to Vadgaon police station yesterday that Pawar issued the threat of cutting off water supply during an election speech at village Masalwadi on April 16, a purported video of which was aired on national television.

"If anybody from this village indulges in any trouble (failing to vote for Sule), I will cut off the water supply," he said in the dim and grainy TV footage after a villager reportedly insisted that he should announce a date to fix the water supply problem. He also asked policemen to remove the villager even as somebody was heard desperately pleading "Sorry, Dada! Sorry, Dada".

Ajit is fondly addressed as 'Ajit Dada' by his supporters. Sule is seeking a second term from her father's pocket borough Baramati. Assistant Police Inspector Vilas Bhosale told PTI that police had received Khopade's complaint but no case has so far been registered against the Deputy CM. He said police and Election Commission officials would check the authenticity of the "poor quality" video before taking appropriate action.

"Due process will be followed after preliminary investigations into the complaint," he said. Khopade, he said, had filed the complaint with the election officials and not the police as the video was shot during electioneering and related to alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct. Bhosale said the concerned video had not been handed over to the police. "Khopade made the complaint to the police belatedly on April 17 while the actual speech was purportedly made on April 16," he said.

The model code for elections prohibits campaigning 48 hours prior to the closing time for casting votes and Pawar could face the charge of violating the code as the video was purportedly shot just a day ahead of the poll on April 17.

Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule could not be contacted for their comments. Water shortage is a major problem in the village and several others in the region and Ajit Pawar has often ruffled the feathers of the local people by his remarks on the issue.

"If there is no water in the dam should I urinate into it?," he had asked while responding to demands by a farmer agitating against inadequate availability of water in a dam in the area last year.

The NCP leader had followed up this comment laced with crass humour with another remark poking fun at load-shedding in the state, saying, "I have noticed that more children are being born since the lights go off at night. There is no other work left then." As his remarks triggered outrage, Ajit had to tender apology in the Legislative Assembly.

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