In 2014, Modi said he wouldn’t differentiate… now invoking Hindutva to seek votes: Sharad Pawar

(From left to right) Congress' Sushil Kumar Shinde, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, NCP president Sharad Pawar and senior party leader Praful Patel at a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday. (Express photo: Pradip Das)

NCP CHIEF Sharad Pawar on Tuesday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's moral right to seek votes in the name of "Hindutva".

"While taking his post as a Prime Minister in 2014, he had pledged that he would not differentiate between people on the basis of religion. Today, he is asking for votes on the Hindutva plank," Pawar said while addressing a public meeting at Govandi that falls in the Mumbai Northeast constituency.

This is the only seat to be contested by NCP in Mumbai. Addressing a large crowd, Pawar urged the voters to elect NCP's Sanjay Dina Patil, pitched against the BJP's Manoj Kotak.

In the light of the comments made against Hemant Karkare by BJP's Lok Sabha nominee from Bhopal, Pragya Singh Thakur, Pawar said: "In 2008, I was in the Cabinet when Hemant Karkare had come asking for permission (to arrest the conspirators). As he said that they have evidence, the then government gave him a free hand, following which, one of the conspirators, Thakur, was arrested. Nine years later, after being released (on bail), Modi has given her a ticket… said they want to give her a chance."

Senior Congress leader Nawab Malik, who also addressed the rally, said: "Modi has been supporting terrorism instead of fighting against it. He proved this the day when they gave Pragya Singh Thakur a ticket from Bhopal."

Pawar, who was over three hours late to the rally, started by apologising to the audience. On Rafale deal, Pawar said: "In 2014, when Modi started his campaign, he had asked for one chance and said that he won't let people get involved in corruption. Then there was a scam in which a fighter jet, which the government was suppose to buy for Rs 350 crore… they eventually bought for Rs 1,607 crore three years later."