Sharad Pawar: Will renaming cities end poverty, solve unemployment

Updated: Nov 14, 2018, 09:20 IST | PTI | Mumbai

Sharad Pawar said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime was trying to divert people's attention from the core issues of poverty and unemployment as it was unable to resolve them.

Sharad Pawar
Sharad Pawar

Slamming the BJP over its campaign to rename cities, NCP chief Sharad Pawar Tuesday asked if the exercise would solve "core issues" like poverty and unemployment. Speaking at an event to mark the birth anniversary of country's first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Pawar wondered if the political leaders giving public statements on the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya had faith in the judiciary.

The former Maharashtra chief minister said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime was trying to divert people's attention from the core issues of poverty and unemployment as it was unable to resolve them. "Names of cities are being changed. Now I hear the name of Agra, which is home to the Taj Mahal that makes the country proud, will be changed," said the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader. "What is the need for all this? What purpose will it serve? Will it increase employment? How will this increase brotherhood among people?," he asked.

Close on the heels of renaming Allahabad as Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had on November 6 announced that Faizabad district in that state would be known as Ayodhya district. Latching on to a recent statement made by former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan, Pawar said the youth of the nation will have to pay for the government's note ban decision. Rajan, while delivering the second Bhattacharya Lectureship at the University of California, Berkeley last Friday said the November 2016 ban on high-value currency notes and the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July 2017 dealt "really really hard blows" to India's economy at a time when global growth was peaking.

Accusing the Narendra Modi government of adopting the wrong policies, Pawar said if the nation was to be taken ahead, the BJP dispensation at the Centre must tread the path laid down by leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. "They are the ones who laid the foundation of development,showed the importance of education, science and technology, which is the way to development of the country," he said. Pawar also claimed that the country's key institutions like the Supreme Court and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were being attacked, "which had never happened in the country before". Recalling the demolition of Babri Masjid, Pawar said he had publicly announced in Faizabad that a mosque should be rebuilt at the site.

"In the evening when people from the minority community came to meet me, they asked me not to favour (rebuilding of) a masjid because they did not want to see again what they had seen," he said referring to the riots. "They were ready to abide by the court's decision. However, political parties today publicly talk about going to Ayodhya and starting work on Ram temple," he said. "Muslims tell me they are not against a temple at the site but the right lies with the judiciary. Do those talking about going to Ayodhya not trust the judiciary?" he asked.

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