My comparison of Lakhimpur violence to Jallianwala Bagh led to I-T raids on Ajit Pawar's kin: NCP chief


MUMBAI: NCP president Sharad Pawar on Friday reiterated that the Income Tax Department’s raids on Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s relatives and aides came after his comparison of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in Uttar Pradesh to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre during the British rule.

Speaking at a meeting of his party in Solapur, Pawar wondered if people had the right to express their views freely in the country.

“The I-T raids were carried out because I likened the Lakhimpur Kheri violence to Jallianwala Bagh massacre…Don’t we have the right to air our views in democracy?” he asked.

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The I-T department on Thursday raided some businesses linked to family members of Ajit Pawar and some real estate developers on charges of alleged tax evasion.

The premises linked to business groups such as DB Realty, Shivalik, Jarandeshwar Sahkari Sugar Karkhana (Jarandeshwar SSK) and businesses linked to Ajit Pawar’s sisters were raided during the operation, official sources had said.

On Tuesday, Pawar had drawn a parallel between the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, in which eight persons were killed, and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, and said people would show the BJP its place.

The former Union minister on Friday alleged that the BJP-led central government was leaving no stone unturned to trouble the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government (of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) in Maharashtra.

“The state government is not being given its rightful share in the central funds,” he added.

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“We need to remove the BJP from our path. In the recent bypolls of local bodies, the MVA allies, which contested separately, won 70 per cent of the seats. There is no doubt in my mind that if we fight together we will get better results. We have to now figure out how to contest the future elections,” he said.

Pawar accused the BJP of being “anti farmer” and indulging in “misuse of power”.

He said that a complete shutdown should be observed during the October 11 ‘Maharashtra bandh’ and it should be carried out in a peaceful manner.

“Nothing should be open except the essential services,” he said.

The Maharashtra Cabinet had on Wednesday expressed regret over the death of farmers in the violence at Lakhimpur Kheri, while the ruling allies here called for a statewide bandh on October 11 to protest against the incident in the Uttar Pradesh district as they sought to corner the BJP over the tragedy.

The Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress, allies in the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), gave the call for Maharashtra bandh to protest against the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri, where eight people, four of them farmers, were killed on Sunday.