Mumbai: Union Agriculture Minister and NCP
president Sharad Pawar on Friday questioned RPI leader Ramdas
Athawale`s allegiance to B R Ambedkar`s ideals, in the light
of Athawale`s joining hands with Shiv Sena and BJP.
Speaking at a rally on the occasion of 12th foundation
day of NCP here, Pawar said that after renouncing Hinduism,
Ambedkar had given 22 pledges to his followers. One of them
was not to worship Hindu gods, and shun rituals supervised by
"Athawale has now joined hands with people who like to
call themselves Hindu Hriday-samrat...Athawale has given up
Ambedkar`s ideals," Pawar said, without naming Sena supremo
Saying that for BJP, Hindutva was nationalism, he asked,
"How can one religion be equated with nationalism when India
is a multi-cultural and multi-religious country?"
Saying that Athawale had a democratic right to choose his
path, the NCP chief said, "I am only worried that he has gone
away from Ambedkar`s ideology."
He added that Athawale had helped NCP in the past, and he
got some help in return.
"We did not do favours to each other. Athawale broke ties
with NCP and contested Lok Sabha election last time from the
Congress`s quota and lost. We had made him and his colleagues
ministers in my government in the state.
"After his loss, he got angry and took a different path
for Assembly polls, but he did not get people`s support...Now
he has taken a different route. I wish him well," Pawar said.