Pune: Rallying around their leader and NCP
president Sharad Pawar, senior Maharashtra ministers on Friday
asked party workers to guard against the "defamation campaign"
against the Union Agriculture Minister, aimed at
"marginalising the NCP".
Mentioning the Neera Radia tapes, state PWD minister
Chhagan Bhujbal said the CBI`s version of her unsubstantiated
remarks about Sharad Pawar got undue publicity.
"Even Pawar`s interest in cricket is misinterpreted by
his detractors, who should note that he has been a promoter
of all sports, including Kabaddi. India won both T-Twenty
championship and World Cup when he was at the helm of cricket
administration. He is an expert in agriculture and was
responsible for the farm loan waiver scheme," Bhujbal said. He
appealed to party workers to have "a firm faith" in their
State Home Minister RR Patil said NCP would foil the
"conspiracy" to defame its leaders and would adopt a "tit for
tat" approach to silence the detractors if the situation
Pawar`s nephew and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar --
himself at the receiving end of allegations -- said, "NCP
workers should counter the defamation campaign in an
aggressive manner without taking it lying down."
Addressing the convention of party workers ahead of the
local self-government elections, Sharad Pawar himself
refrained from making any mention of the allegations.
He said that NCP would fully support the passage of