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Piyush Goyal, Sarma must apologize to Pawar, Sule over Palestine issue comments: NCP

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Mumbai, Oct 19 (PTI) The NCP on Thursday asked Union minister Piyush Goyal and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to publicly apologise to party leaders Sharad Pawar and Supriya Sule for making "crass" and "uncouth" comments against them over the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict and India's stand on the issue.

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The Nationalist Congress Party's statement came hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed his condolences to President of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas over the deaths of civilians at a hospital in Gaza and reiterated India's long-standing "principled position" on the Israel-Palestine issue.

The PM told Abbas New Delhi will continue to send humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people "Now that our PM Narendra Modi ji has once again officially extended his support to Palestine, Piyush Goyal and Himanta Biswa Sarma must publicly apologize to Sharad Pawar and Supriya Sule for making crass and uncouth statements on them," NCP national spokesperson Clyde Crasto said.

"If they do not apologize it will be considered that Piyush Goyal and Himanta Biswa Sarma think of our PM Narendra Modi in the same manner and breath as the comments they made on Sharad Pawar and Supriya Sule," he said on social media site X.

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BJP leaders Goyal and Sarma had slammed Pawar over his comments criticising the Centre's stand on the decades-old Palestine issue in the wake of the October 7 Hamas incursions inside Israel.

In a post on X, the Union minister said it is very disturbing when a senior leader like Sharad Pawar makes “preposterous” statements on India’s stand on a terror attack in Israel. Sarma had also made critical comments on Sule, the daughter of Sharad Pawar, in context of the conflict in West Asia.

Pawar, a former defence minister, had said earlier this week that Modi's immediate statements on the Hamas-Israel war seemed to convey a different position from the one articulated by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The NCP founder had also spoken about India's long-term support for Palestine cause.

A day after Hamas launched its incursions, Modi had expressed solidarity with Israel and condemned the terrorist attacks.

Later, the MEA described the strikes by Hamas on Israeli cities as "terror attacks", but also reaffirmed India's long-standing position, advocating negotiations towards establishing a "sovereign, independent and viable" state of Palestine living side-by-side at peace with Israel. PTI MR RSY

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