Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray has urged Union agriculture minister and Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar to resign from the Union cabinet and come to Maharashtra to protect the interest of farmers reeling under drought.
After visiting the house of farmer Gajanan Ghotekar, who recently committed suicide and blamed the Congress and NCP for the plight of farmers in a suicide note, Thackeray told mediapersons here yesterday that he has appealed to the farmers not to vote for NCP and Congress.
Uddhav met the family members of the deceased and though he did not offer any instant financial assistance, he promised to bear the expenses of his kids' education.
The suicide note had attracted media attention after Sena chief Bal Thackeray criticised the government regarding the issue, in his party mouthpiece 'Saamna'.
"Sharad Pawar ignores the farmers of Maharashtra while in the state but arranges farmers' rally in New Delhi and speaks in favour of them," Thackarey said, adding that Pawar should resign from his ministerial post first and take the farmers' issues to the street and fight for their cause.
On the controversial lower Paingananga irrigation project in Yavatmal, he said he had received a representation from anti-project activists and added that he has instructed the local Shiv Sena leaders to conduct an on-the-spot study and report back to him.
On the Jaitapur Power Project, Thackeray said he was not against any project, but stands with the affected people as the project generates energy and it would be sold elsewhere which is not acceptable. "Those who are lobbying for the project in Jaitapur at the cost of the poor people, they should set up the project elsewhere and we would buy the power from there," he said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre termed the visit of Uddhav Thackeray to the deceased farmer's house as a "planned political stunt".
He also ridiculed the Sena leader for on one hand criticising the NCP supremo for his anti-farmer stand and on the other, endorsing an alliance with the party for mustering power in the local government bodies and in Yavatmal zila parishad.
It is the prime obligation of the NCP-Sena partnership to identify the problems of the villagers and farmers and initiate practical programmes to solve them, he added.