BJP pulls up Danve over anti-farmer re­mark



ON A day Op­po­si­tion Congress and NCP de­cided to launch statewide protests against BJP state pres­i­den­traosa­heb­dan­ve­for“in­sult­ing farm­ers” through a “deroga­tory” com­ment, the party’scen­tral­lead­er­ship­islearnt to­havepulledupthe­se­nior­leader for his “ir­re­spon­si­ble” re­mark.

Dur­ing an in­ter­nal meet­ing of the BJP Wed­nes­day, Danve had while re­spond­ing to a worker’s query about farm­ers’ prob­lems re­port­edly said: “De­spite 1 lakh tonne of ad­di­tional pro­cure­ment of tur (pulses), they (farm­ers) are still cry­ing.” He had al­legedly also used a deroga­tory term for the farm­ers, invit­ing sharp crit­i­cism not from only the Op­po­si­tion and ally Shiv Sena, but from within the party too.

Even as Danve made a pub­lic apol­ogy Thurs­day, sources said he was cau­tioned by the party’s cen­tral lead­er­ship against mak­ing such re­marks as they “ad­versely im­pact the im­age of the party and the gov­ern­ment”.

“The top lead­ers in Delhi con­veyed to Danve that since he holds an im­por­tant post, he should ex­er­cise more cau­tion and not make a com­ment that can af­fect the im­age of the BJP and the gov­ern­ment. He was told that such com­ments un­der­mine the pol­icy re­forms and other ef­forts in the agri­cul­ture sec­tor made by the state and cen­tral gov­ern­ments,” a se­nior BJP leader said.

In his writ­ten state­ment in Marathi, Danve clar­i­fied: “I was ad­dressin­ga­party­work­ers’meetingand­chalkingout­pro­grammes forthenex­t15­days,three­months and six months. It was de­cided that work­ers would per­son­ally meet vil­lagers and ex­plain the good­work­donebythe­cen­tre­and thes­­sues­re­lat­edto­farm­ers were also dis­cussed.”

He added: “One of the work­ers raised a ques­tion about non­pro­cured tur from farm­ers. I ex­plained to him the mea­sures taken by the gov­ern­ment.”

Deny­ing hav­ing made any in­sult­ing re­mark, Danve said: “I was born in a farm­ers’ fam­ily. I am en­gaged in farm­ing. Where is the ques­tion of my in­sult­ing farm­ers? The me­dia is wrongly pro­ject­ing the is­sue and my state­ment. I never made any deroga­tory re­mark against farm­ers. Yet, if my state­ment has hurt farm­ers, I seek apol­ogy.”

How­ever, not ev­ery­one in the party is sat­is­fied. “In an age where per­cep­tion mat­ters, we ex­pect our lead­ers to be­have more re­spon­si­bly. If gen­uine farm­ers’ is­sues are high­lighted in in­ter­nal meet­ings by work­ers, lead­ers should take them more se­ri­ously,” said a BJP MLA who did not wish to be named.

The Congress and the NCP have de­cided to launch a statewide protest against Danve from Friday. Asked if the NCP would also de­mand Danve’s re­moval, party pres­i­dent Sharad Pawar said: “His con­tin­u­ance as the state BJP chief is good for the Op­po­si­tion par­ties.”

Raosa­heb Danve

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