Sharad Pawar to PM Modi: How many factories closed due to economic recession

Nanded/Hingoli: Instead of telling how many new factories have come up, PM Modi should state how many factories have closed down due to the slowdown, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said on Thursday.

Addressing meetings of party workers ahead of Maharashtra assembly poll, the former Union minister also spoke about “Marathi manoos” getting elbowed out from the former textile district of Mumbai.

In a meeting in Parbhani, Pawar claimed the state government did not allow onions to be brought to a market in Nashik where Modi addressed a rally on Thursday.

Officials told him the government was afraid people might hurl onions at Modi’s convoy as farmers were upset due to the decision to ‘import onions from Pakistan’, he said.

“There is an economic slowdown in the country. The economy will be in trouble if the slowdown persists. Investment dynamic has gone wrong,” Pawar said at a meeting in Nanded.

“Prime Minister @narendramodi tells new factories have come in the country. But instead of telling how many have come, he should declare how many factories have closed down,” Pawar tweeted later. Lakhs of youngsters are jobless, he alleged.

At Hingoli, Pawar said of the 120 textile mills in Mumbai, the state’s capital, only ten are operating. “Mumbai was once the biggest textile hub in the world.

There were 120 textile mills where four lakh workers worked. ...now in place of these mills, 30-storey, 40-storey buildings have come up, where we don’t get to see my Marathi manoos (Maharashtrians), that property is in the hands of other people,” he added.

About 16,000 farmers have committed suicide in Maharashtra alone, the former Union agriculture minister said, without specifying the period. Increasing debt, vagaries of climate and low prices for farm produce were among the reasons for farmer suicides, Pawar said.

“But they (the ruling party) have nothing to do with farmers. They say they will waive loans of companies, but not of farmers, as companies give employment. But the one who feeds us doesn’t get loan waiver,” the NCP chief said.

In Parbhani, Pawar alleged workers of opposition parties in Nashik were served notices by police ahead of Modi’s rally, while some were even arrested.

“I checked with officials (in Nashik) over phone why onions cannot be brought to market. They said the government was afraid onions might be hurled at PM’s vehicle.

“I asked them why people would hurl onions. They said people have not liked something. I asked what the people did not like? They said import of onions from Pakistan,” Pawar said.

After reports of onion import from Pakistan drew flak, the Centre had clarified the bulb would not be imported from the neighbouring country.