Sharad Pawar: Need policy to compensate traders for losses suffered in communal strife

The NCP chief also suggested that there should be a central committee with representatives from different organisations of traders and entrepreneurs, which could look into the issues they face.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said the state government should introduce a policy to compensate traders and entrepreneurs who suffer losses during incidents of communal strife.

Addressing a gathering of traders and entrepreneurs in Nagpur on Wednesday, Pawar said, “It is very unfortunate that the state witnessed reactions to what happened in Tripura. Some political parties poured out on the streets, which was wrong. Traders and entrepreneurs suffer heavy losses during such incidents for no fault of theirs. As such, the government should have a policy to compensate them in the event of such incidents.”

Pawar is on a four-day visit to Vidarbha, during which he will visit Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Yavatmal and Wardha districts. The NCP chief said his tour was to expand his party’s presence in the region.

He also suggested that there should be a central committee with representatives from different organisations of traders and entrepreneurs, which could look into the issues they face. “Traders and entrepreneurs from different parts of the state have different problems. So, to resolve their issues, there should be a central committee, which will be recognised by the government. This will help their problems reach the departments concerned. Such a committee will hold regular monthly meetings with the government. Such a policy needs to be formulated.”

In reply to a specific question on whether the opposition was willing to accept West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee as its leader in the fight against BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Pawar said, “Leadership is not the issue. We will discuss about a possible alliance in the upcoming Parliament session. Today, there is need to give options to people and we have to try to fulfil their wish.”

On the issue of former state home minister Anil Deshmukh, who is currently in the Enforcement Directorate’s custody, Pawar said, “… Param Bir Singh had made allegations against him but has now himself gone absconding. That’s not fair. He is not coming forward to face inquiry. It is an injustice against Anil Deshmukh. But since this issue is sub-judice, I will not make further comments on it.”

About former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ recent statement— that the recent violence in the state was carried out with a view to appease Muslims —Pawar said, “Statements made by Fadnavis over the last few days were very shallow and were not expected of a leader of his stature. I can understand that people become very uneasy after losing power but one has to observe restraint in one’s public conduct.”

On a question about a recent comment by state Congress president Nana Patole, who said the NCP has no presence in Vidarbha, Pawar said, “Congress and NCP are working with the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru. I can only understand the thinking and loyalty of a person who has fought elections and won on a BJP ticket.”

Reacting to demands to slash GST on fuel prices, Pawar said, “The Centre should clear the GST dues to the state, after which a cut can be considered.”

Pawar praises Gadkari

Speaking on the regional imbalances in terms of development in Maharashtra, Pawar held the leadership of these regions responsible for development or the lack of it. While elucidating his point, Pawar heaped lavish praise on Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and indirectly criticised Fadnavis. Both Fadnavis and Gadkari are from Nagpur.

“For regional imbalance, the local leadership is accountable. The regions from where the chief minister hails generally get more development. The issues raised by the local business community are important but these could have been resolved during the last few years when the state’s leadership was with the region. The leader should have a vision of development, only then development occurs,” Pawar said.

He further said, “On the other hand, some central leaders pursue development of the entire country irrespective of any regional considerations. But they are few and far between. But Nitin Gadkari is a different leader in this light. He doesn’t have considerations of party or regions and resolves the problems of everyone.”

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