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PM’s charge of budget allocation for Muslims foolish: Sharad Pawar

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a roadshow for Lok Sabha polls, in Mumbai, Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a roadshow for Lok Sabha polls, in Mumbai, Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Nashik: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim that Congress wanted to keep 15 per cent of the budget for Muslims is “foolish”, said NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday, stressing that allocation based on caste and religion can never happen.

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Talking to reporters here, Pawar said the central government budget is about the country not of any caste or religion.

PM Modi on Wednesday alleged that the Congress during its previous rule wanted to allocate 15 per cent of the central government budget for Muslims and vowed not to allow splitting of budget or reservation in jobs and education on the basis of religion.

Pawar said such a claim is "foolish". He said, “Budget allocation on the basis of caste and religion can never happen.” Asked about PM Modi’s “vote jihad” remark, Pawar said, “There is not even one per cent truth in what Modi speaks these days. He has lost confidence.” Pawar said when Modi was the chief minister (of Gujarat) he was interested in development in agriculture, but now he speaks only of politics.

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The 83-year-old politician also responded to a question about his recent remark that several regional parties could merge with the Congress in the near future.

If ideology is the same, then a merger of parties should happen. “Why is Modi so troubled by my comment? I did not speak about Uddhav Thackeray’s party... Is that a small party? It got more seats (than us) in the last assembly elections,” he said.

Referring to PM Modi’s events in Mumbai on Wednesday, Pawar said holding roadshows in cities like Mumbai is not a good idea. “Where Modi went yesterday was essentially a Gujarati-dominated area. He was focusing on a particular community,” he said.

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Ahead of the May 20 polling for the six Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai and seven others in Maharashtra, Modi held a mega roadshow in the Ghatkopar area on Wednesday evening to canvass for the candidates of the BJP and its allies Shiv Sena and NCP.

Asked about his predictions for the Lok Sabha polls, the NCP (SP) chief said change is evident.

“People want a change but I can’t say who will win how many seats.”

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