Pune: Hailing the progress of
Hivre-Bazar, a model village in Ahmednagar district, Union
Rural Development minister Jairam Ramesh has counselled its
promoter---social activist Popat Pawar---not to take to the
Gandhian ways, while working for his mission, in an oblique
reference to Anna Hazare, whose village Ralegan Siddhi lies in
Describing Hivre-Bazar as "Shirdi" of rural
development, Ramesh, addressing the Gram Panchayat on
Saturday, also advised Pawar to stay away from politics.
"I want you not to undertake a hunger strike or wear a
Gandhi cap. Please work for rural development, but keep away
from politics," he said.
Later, speaking to reporters, Ramesh, however, praised
Hazare for the transformation brought about by him in Ralegan
Siddhi, known for its novel water conservation and management
in the arid region.
"There is no doubt about what Anna Hazare had done in
Ralegan in the last 30 years, transforming it. The work done
by Popat Pawar in Hivre Bazar is equally remarkable, but has
not got the same attention," he said, adding that both the
villages are worthy examples of rural development in the
Refusing to get drawn into any controversy, Pawar, who
is also working president of Maharashtra government`s "Model
village scheme" said, Hazare was his "source of inspiration"
and there was no question of any "competition".
Ramesh said, his visit to Hivre-Bazar was not a
"political" one and he had no intention of presenting Pawar as
an alternative to Hazare.