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Don't play politics on words, says Sharad Pawar on 'outsider' row

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Satara (Maharashtra), April 15 (IANS) Smarting under criticism over his off-the-cuff 'outsider' remark, Nationalist Congress Party (SP) President Sharad Pawar on Monday urged political opponents "not to play politics on words".

Speaking to the media, Pawar sought an end to the row that erupted after he indirectly labelled his daughter-in-law Sunetra A. Pawar -- wife of Nationalist Congress Party President and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar -- as 'an outsider'.

Sunetra A. Pawar is the NCP candidate from Baramati where she is pitted against her sister-in-law (nanad), the sitting MP and NCP (SP) Working President Supriya Sule in what is described as a 'tough contest'.

"My comments were totally misinterpreted. Ajit Pawar had said that you (the people) have elected Sharad Pawar, me, so now elect your daughter-in-law… I had spoken pertaining to this statement only," said Pawar, resting the controversy.

Reiterating that he had the highest regards for women, Sharad Pawar mentioned several decisions benefitting women in the state in government services, and as Defence Minister to recruit girls in the armed forces. After Sharad Pawar's statement last Friday (April 12), the rival NCP and local Bharatiya Janata Party activists kicked up the dust alleging that the NCP (SP) chief had cast aspersions on all daughters-in-law, treating them as 'outsiders', while not treating Sunetra A. Pawar as part of the Pawar clan.

Responding to a query on the impact of the simmering Maratha quota's imbroglio on the Lok Sabha elections, Sharad Pawar said that "the public sentiments are very strong on the issue" in different parts of the state, including Marathwada.

However, the octogenarian leader said that although people look up to Shivba Sanghatana leader Manoj Jarange-Patil for the reservations, it is not clear how much of the goodwill he enjoys can actually be converted into votes.

Jarange-Patil had spearheaded a series of agitations from August 2023-January 2024, and has now warned of a fresh stir after the Lok Sabha elections (early-June), if the Maratha quotas assurances are not fulfilled.

--IANS

qn/pgh


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