NCP set to play Vidarbha card to counter attack on Pawar

Pawar raised Vidarbha-specific development issues like MIHAN, Gosikhurd irrigation project, Butibori industrial estate and tourism, saying he had done everything possible to help these projects and much more needed to be done in future

Faced with the prospect of the entire Opposition pouncing upon him from Tuesday, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and his NCP colleagues seem to have decided to use the Vidarbha card as a counter.

At a programme to felicitate Pawar on being re-inducted into the state Cabinet, the NCP on Monday sought to give a clear signal that far from being chastised by the allegations of scandals, they were not going to allow themselves to be put down.

"The Legislature session is in Nagpur for discussing Vidarbha's issue and giving justice to the region. Instead, the Opposition is hell-bent on raising the non-issue of Pawar taking over as Deputy CM" was the common refrain in the speeches by leaders after leaders, including Pawar.

Incidentally, NCP leaders Chhagan Bhujbal, Gulabrao Deokar and Babanrao Pachpute, who have been singled out by the Opposition as their targets due to allegations of corruption against them, were present in the programme.

They all asked: "What's the issue about Dy CM? How come states like Goa, Karnataka and Bihar have it? Why not instead discuss the white paper? We are not afraid of it. We will give fitting replies."

Pawar raised Vidarbha-specific development issues like MIHAN, Gosikhurd irrigation project, Butibori industrial estate and tourism, saying he had done everything possible to help these projects and much more needed to be done in future. "Let's focus on Vidarbha. The Opposition is doing this business of throwing stones at others while living in glass houses," he said.

Pawar declared that he would take up specific responsibility once the Nagpur session was over. For now, Pawar is Dy CM without a portfolio.

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