Modi a ‘smooth talker’, says Pawar; mocks PM on note ban

Nashik: NCP President Sharad Pawar on Thursday described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “smooth talker” while taunting him over the note ban decision and wondered if he would now go after the gold ornaments worn by people.

The former Defence Minister took potshots at Modi and highlighted the problems faced by common people following his decision to scrap the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

“People told me: The next step (after demonetisation) is that the Government will check the gold ornaments we are wearing. This is how things are now. That means this is our last term as Parliament members. People will never elect us again,” he said at a rally in Pimpalgaon near here.

“People told me: You speak to him (Modi) about the problems caused by demonetisation as you have good relations with him. They said when Modi came to an event in Pune, he praised me, saying it was I who guided him in politics,” Pawar said.

“I said, this is it. I brought him into politics. He (Modi) is a smooth talker. He speaks in such a powerful manner that the person hearing him believes there is something to the man…that he must be having a 56-inch chest,” he said.

The Maratha strongman noted that BJPs own ally Shiv Sena had opposed the currency scrap exercise and it should now decide what punishment should be given to the PM for the “failed” drive.

“Modi said give him 50 days and (if demonetisation didnt succeed, he was willing to bear any punishment people gave him. Shiv Sena is their ally. I read (Sena chief) Uddhav Thackeray’s speech where he said in which public square should Modi be made to stand (to accept punishment),” he said.

The former Agriculture Minister said people are bearing the brunt of the note ban exercise which has caused collapse of remunerative prices for vegetable growers.

“The promised 50 days are over. Prices of all items have collapsed, be it onions or tomatoes. I had two acres of brinjal crop in my farm. A fortnight ago, I went home and asked my associate who handles the farm work about the earnings from the brinjal crop.

“When he gave me the receipt, I said it shows even the transportation cost was not recovered. If this is the plight of a person like me, what will be your situation?” wondered the veteran Parliamentarian.

Modi had heaped praises on the NCP chief at an event in Pune in November where he was invited by Pawar. “I have personal respect for Sharadrao. He helped me walk in politics by holding my finger. I feel proud to pronounce this publicly,” the PM had stated.