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BJP MLC Remarks Against Pawar Family Angers NCP Ranks

Controversial BJP legislator Gopichand Padalkar’s disparaging statement against the Pawar family has suddenly created another potential explosive situation in Maharashtra, within days of the conclusion of the Maratha caste’s demand for reservations and the resultant agitation. The current fuse for the political outburst is Padalkar’s unsavoury language against Sharad Pawar, his daughter Supriya Sule and nephew Ajit over the Dhangar (cattle shepherds) caste’s demand for reservations and Ajit’s assurance that he would try his best to secure it. Ridiculing this promise, Padalkar described the Pawar clan as wily wolves in an interview that went viral within minutes. Padalkar was once very close to Republican leader Prakash Ambedkar. He then changed his stance and joined the BJP, which has made him a member of the legislative council. An arch opponent of the Pawar family, he had contested one election unsuccessfully from Baramati, the fiefdom of Pawars for decades. Padalkar had also said that his caste did not have faith in Ajit nor did it respect him.  Taking strong exception to Padalkar’s hurtful words, Ajit’s opponents have warned the present ruling alliance that they will not care about their presence in the government if Padalkar was not reined in immediately by deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. “We will assault Padalkar in public, even if he apologizes. That day will come soon,” some of them have threatened.