‘Why do you need so many tuition teachers (Modi, Shah…) when you (Fadnavis) have studied and done so well?

Anuradha Mascarenhas
"Politics has come down to the level of vindictiveness, where there is panic and fear everywhere. It is brewing clearly, but people don’t want to admit it — they are subconsciously worried. They will harass us, trouble us, but we will fight back”, Supriya Sule said.

Supriya Sule overcame the ‘Modi’ wave to win the Baramati Lok Sabha seat for a third time. On the last leg of the campaign for the Assembly elections, Sule, NCP’s star campaigner and daughter of party chief Sharad Pawar, lashed out against the politics of vindictiveness and questioned the timing of the ED summons to Praful Patel. In an interview with The Indian Express, she also wonders why the entire BJP top brass has to hold so many rallies if they think they have done a great job in Maharashtra.

Praful Patel has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate. Even Sharad Pawar has been named in an ED case.

It is unfortunate and the incident has left a bad taste in the mouth. Look at the timing of all the allegations. Think about it logically — It is not rocket science and pretty evident that there is complete vindictiveness. Nobody can take Sharad Pawar's work away from him. As for Praful Patel, he has given a 40-minute detailed press conference denying the charges. But politics has come down to the level of vindictiveness, where there is panic and fear everywhere. It is brewing clearly, but people don’t want to admit it — they are subconsciously worried. They will harass us, trouble us, but we will fight back.

Sharad Pawar has been the driving force, still NCP leaders joined the BJP.

The whole point is that a lot of people who left us did so clearly out of panic and selfish reasons — unfortunately politics is no more about views and issues — but related to bank, factory issues. This is not politics but something different that is happening. Take each name (of leaders who left us), they left due to personal reasons related to say a factory or bank loan. But it is unfortunate that politics has come down to this level. Any organisation, be it a corporate house or newspaper, there has to be a view, an opponent and a debate. If we all start agreeing with each other, it is going to be harmful for us.

You have said the Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) is a translator who translates from Marathi to Hindi whatever Prime Minister Narendra Modi does at the Centre...

It is unfortunate when stuff like ‘a farmer asking the CM when he will talk about local issues gets a response that it will be taken up in Kashmir elections is doing the rounds on WhatsApp. So my question to the CM is, if you have done a great job and there is no opponent here, then why does PM Narendra Modi come to the state to take 10 or more rallies, Union Home Minister Amit Shah another 20-odd rallies and other top BJP leaders like Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani? Why do you need so many tuition teachers when you have studied and done so well. The CM is just a translator as I have said before, and he is talking about Modi’s work rather than making speeches about what he has done or achieved in Maharashtra.

Which are the key constituencies where the Congress-NCP is hoping for a comeback?

I won’t specify, but the NCP and Congress alliance will do well. Generally the campaign has gathered momentum and people on the field are getting a good feedback. Poll issues change in a state election and local issues are taken up. Elections are not only about winning. The point is, why are we losing the focus and not talking about what we are going to do in next five years to serve the people of the state and make a positive difference in their lives?

In our speeches, we are constantly talking about that and are even ready to address issues like climate change, as stated in our manifesto. The Mayor of Pune, ahead of Modi’s rally (on October 17) recently made a statement that trees at S P College were not chopped, only branches were cut. Come on, what’s going on? Despite 300 MPs at the Centre, how can the government be a successful one if the economy is in doldrums. There are issues like farmers’ suicides, lack of jobs, poor condition of roads.

Amit Shah made Baramati a focus area during the Lok Sabha poll campaign. What is the scene ahead of Assembly polls?

Dada (Ajit Pawar) is so lucky. (Ajit Pawar is contesting from Baramati Assembly segment against BJP’s Gopichand Padalkar). The BJP had put its entire might against me during the Lok Sabha elections. They had pitted an MLA’s wife against me and I was teasing Dada that I was envious as they have fielded a weak candidate against him