Political leaders condemn Pawar slap
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Last Updated: Thursday, November 24, 2011, 23:54
New Delhi: The incident of slapping of Union Minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday evoked wide condemnation from the political class, even as some opposition leaders warned the government that such incidents may increase if it did not take adequate steps to curb rising prices.

Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule, who was coming out of Parliament rushed to see her father after hearing about the incident.

Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi blamed BJP for the "unfortunate" incident saying, "the incident was a result of the opposition party leader's statement made to incite the public.

"If the opposition party says that people will resort to violence due to rising prices, it means they are inciting the people of the country... If a political party incites the public like this, then it will have such results."

Alvi said, "all political parties and their leaders should be very careful in giving their statements," as they weaken democracy.

BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad, while condemning the incident said it is unfortunate that Congress feels that the opposition party is trying to incite the public. "It is not proper. It should not have happened. It is a security breach," he told reporters outside Parliament.

Reacting to the Congress comments blaming the BJP for instigating violence, Prasad said, "If Congress thinks it is because of opposition's statements, we pity them for not being concerned about the public apathy and pain due to price rise. People are today helpless and are feeling the pain of price rise for the last 3.5 years even when an economist Prime Minister is running the nation."

Terming Alvi's comments as "irresponsible", Prasad said he should show restraint while making statements against a political party as his views are considered as those of the Congress since he is also the party spokesman.

Prasad also justified remarks by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha that an atmosphere of tension was prevailing in the country due to price rise.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, "It is totally condemnable and I think, I do not know where this country is going. These type of activities are not worth publicising."

Railways Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi said, "It is very unfortunate", but added "if it was just a spur of the moment, then I think he should be talked to and he should be explained things."

The Minister felt that taking any tough step against him also may not really solve anything.

Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh said, these things are happening as the government was not fulfilling its responsibility.

"If the government does not fulfil its responsibility, and creates such an atmosphere which leads to anarchy and incidents of attack on even senior ministers of the Centre.... then the government has to answer," he told reporters outside Parliament.

While stressing that the responsibility for the price rise rests on the governemnt, Singh, at the same time, maintained, "But the solution of price rise does not lie in attacking Sharad Pawar."

He rejected Congress allegation as "absurd" that the attack on Pawar has happened due to the provocative statements by Sinha.

NDA convener Sharad Yadav said "such acts weakens our fight against corruption and price rise and I strongly condemn the incident... He is a lumpen man and has acted in the same manner earlier also."

When asked if it was people's anger coming out against prise rise, Yadav said, "This (slapping)is not the way for this. He is enacting a drama. Who is taking up a fight against corruption and price rise. It is we the opposition parties, who have waged a war against corruption and price rise."

Samajwadi Party's Mulayam Singh Yadav said, "I condemn the incident and fear that if the price rise continues the way it is, such incidents may increase. Yashwant Sinha is right that such incidents my increase if price rise.

CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta said "I strongly condemn this Act. It is uncivilised and undemocratic. This is no way to protest against price rise. We fight against corruption and policies, but we are against individual terrorism. I condemn this squarely."

Trinamool Congress leader and Minister of State for Health Sudeep Bandhopadhyay said, "It is totally condemnable. People will definitely be pained about price rise and we will discuss it across the country and Parliament."

"But we condemn any such attack on a politician, a colleague. We also want exemplary punishment in this matter. It is not proper to allow such things," he said.

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury also condemned the attack on Pawar, saying "such methods are not acceptable in a democracy. This is not the way. It cannot be accepted".

However, he said the incident "reflects that the people are angry over price rise and corruption".

Condemning the attack on Pawar, former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Deve Gowda said, "No attempt whatsoever should be made to justify or defend or glorify such acts which pose a serious threat to our democratic polity."

In a letter to Pawar, Gowda said, "Such a lunatic act needs to be condemned by all right thinking people in the country and cutting across party lines, we have to make it abundantly clear to one and all that there is no place for violence in a democratic society such as ours."

"While people have a legitimate right to protest against issues and individuals about whom they feel agitated, there is absolutely no room whatsoever for any act of violence, which is unpardonable and unacceptable," he said.

"The law of the land must take its course and a clear message needs to be sent out that such irresponsible, undemocratic and cowardly acts, whether on people in Government or outside or civil society, would not be condoned," he said.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar condemned the slapping of Pawar saying, "It is not the right way to protest on any issue...We do not approve of such a violent act and condemn it. There is no place for violence in society and democracy."

Terming the attack on the Agriculture Minister as a crime, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, "Everybody in this country is concerned (about price rise). ...But I do not like the way, I condemn it...It is a crime."

"...If you want to speak, speak, express your views...If you slap somebody or throw a shoe, it won't work," she added.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said, "That was a terrible act, a criminal act and should not be allowed and encouraged."

Condemning the incident, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter, "The attack on Sharad Pawar is condemnable and unfortunate. There is no place for such acts in democracy."

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray strongly condemned the "repulsive" attack on Pawar, saying the Maharashtrians would not tolerate such acts.

Describing Pawar as an old friend, Thackeray said, "We have political differences, but Pawar has a standing as a leader in Maharashtra and in the country. This assault on him is not acceptable and will not be tolerated by the Marathis."

Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said, "The incident needs to be strongly condemned. Whatever has happened is very bad."


First Published: Thursday, November 24, 2011, 15:53

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