NCP questions Modi's silence on communal polarisation, demands Ram Shankar Katheria's removal
Sharad Pawar said he did not find the Union Budget to be a "pro-farmer exercise" but felt there were only "lot of slogans".
New Delhi: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday faulted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for remaining silent on issues like the JNU row and demanded immediate sacking of Union Minister Ram Shankar Katheria over his alleged hate speech in Agra.
A former Agriculture Minister, Pawar said he did not find the Union budget to be a "pro-farmer exercise" but felt there were only "lot of slogans".
Replying to questions at a press conference, Pawar alleged politics of communal polarisation was being played in the country since the Narendra Modi government assumed office.
"Communal fever... Temperature is rising. An atmosphere of fear is being created in which small groups and minorities are being targeted. But there is no place for such an important issue in the Prime Minister's Man Ki Baat programme," he said.
Asked whether he felt the Modi government was vindictive after NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal faced ED raids, Pawar initially said one should not react immediately to such actions.
Later, he said there are "no bad days" for those who have been agreeing with the government.
Briefing on the deliberations at NCP's working committee meeting here yesterday, Pawar said the party adopted a resolution, condemning the "blatantly communal" speech of Katheria, Union Minister of State for HRD, while addressing a condolence meeting for VHP worker Arun Mahaur, who was shot dead on February 25.
"The NCP demands that the minister be immediately dismissed and legal action be taken against him," he said.
Criticisng the budget proposals, he said the move to tax 60 per cent of withdrawals from provident fund and a ceiling on employers contribution would "lead to unrest".
He said the raising of the service tax to 15 per cent would lead to further price rise.
Pawar, who was Agriculture Minister for 10 years during UPA rule, did not share the government's optimism that the income of farmers could be doubled within the next few years. If this was to be achieved, there should be substantial step-up in the outlay for agriculture each year, he said.