I Did Not Support Modi, Never Will, Says NCP Chief Sharad Pawar Retracting Earlier Comment

| October 2 , 2018 , 10:13 IST

Days after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) founder-member Tariq Anwar and general secretary Munaf Hakim resigned from the party over NCP Chief Sharad Pawar defending Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rafale deal, Pawar has issued a retraction, media reported on Tuesday.

"Some people have criticised me, saying that I supported him (PM Modi). But I did not support him and will never (do that)," Pawar said at a party meeting in the Marathwada region.

"They (the government) bought the aircraft. I am saying with all clarity that the government should explain to parliament why the cost of the aircraft rose from Rs. 650 crore (per plane) to Rs. 1,600 crore," the NCP chief said.

ALSO READ: NCP Lok Sabha MP Tariq Anwar Resigns After Sharad Pawar Defends PM Modi On Rafale

Pawar also reiterated his demand, which has been echoed by other Opposition parties, for a probe into the Rafale deal by a Joint Parliamentary Committee and demand for the PM Modi-led NDA government to disclose the price of the 36 fighter jets.

On September 27, NCP Chief and Former Defence Minister Sharad Pawar while speaking to the media said "People do not doubt Prime Minister Modi’s intention in the Rafale Deal".

While Pawar's statement was hailed by BJP national president Amit Shah, who thanked him for placing "national interests above party politics", it resulted in the resignation of Tariq Anwar and Munaf Hakim and also risked the party's potential alliance with the Congress in the future.

Anwar had been Lok Sabha MP from Katihar in Bihar and is considered a close aide of Pawar. He along with former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma had quit the Congress two decades back raking up Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin issue to form the NCP.

NCR general secretary Munaf Hakim while resigning said that he quit the primary membership of the party as it was 'difficult' to defend its image after chief Sharad Pawar 'supported' PM Modi in the Rafale issue.