Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar was on Wednesday unanimously re-elected president of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and he used the occasion to launch a broadside against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of indulging in game of politics on foreign soil.
Seventy-four-year-old Mr. Pawar’s re-election was declared by NCP general secretary T.P. Peetambhar Master at the party’s sixth national convention here. Mr. Pawar’s nephew and NCP legislature party leader Ajit Pawar was conspicuous by his absence.
Mr. Pawar has held the post since he founded the party in 1999 after parting ways with the Congress.
Attacking Mr. Modi, he said: “Indulging in the game of politics on foreign soil is a serious issue and in doing so, the country’s image had taken a beating.”
Mr. Modi had hit back at the Opposition over its criticism about his frequent foreign visits, saying he was being attacked for “tireless” work and had asserted that if it was a “crime” he would continue to do it.
Mr. Modi had also taken pot shots at previous governments which practiced ‘Look East’ policy, saying India has had enough of it and its time to ‘Act East’.
Mr. Pawar also lashed out at the Modi government for using all means at its disposal to implement its “saffron” agenda and ideology.
“Recently some experts from IIT met me in Delhi and told me how the saffron agenda was being pushed through in education,” he said.
Speaking at the national convention of the party, Mr. Pawar said: “In the name of development, saffron ideology is being implemented. It is a challenge and the NCP has a national duty to counter it.”