Mumbai: Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse ton Tuesday dismissed criticism by Shiv Sena by taking a jibe at the Thackeray family's non-rural, non-farming background.
He defended his yesterday's remarks over non-payment of electricity bills by farmers. "My remarks were projected out of context. What I said was in the interest of the farmers," Khadse told reporters here.
"They (farmers) pay their mobile bills month after month because they do not want their phone connection to get disconnected. They know if their phone gets disconnected, they will not be able to speak to anyone... If they have money to pay their mobile bills, then why don't they have money to pay their electricity bills? They should make it a habit to pay off bills and loans," the senior BJP leader had said yesterday at Akola.
It prompted the Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to say that BJP ministers were now emulating the erstwhile Congress-NCP ministers.
However, Khadse today dismissed Sena chief's comment by saying "I don't need lessons from anyone. Those who don't know whether the groundnut grows underground or above the ground should not teach me. Those who have not seen a farm are advising me. I am a farmer myself."
Interestingly, NCP chief and former Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has often responded to Sena's criticism in the same vein, referring to Thackerays' urban background.