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"Sharad Pawar's personal opinion, Adani issue grave": Cong Maharashtra chief Nana Patole
Nagpur: Responding to NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar's remarks on the report by US short-seller Hindenburg Research against the Adani Group, the Congress on Saturday said while the senior Opposition leader may hold a divergent view, the issue was grave in nature.
The statement comes after Pawar's explosive claim on the Hindenburg report, saying that there are more important issues such as price rise and farmers' issues that the Opposition should raise instead of giving undue importance to the report by the US short-seller. On Pawar's advice to the Opposition in the televised interview that it should, instead, focus on other pressing issues such as price rise, the Congress' Maharashtra chief Nana Patole said the grand old party has raised farmers' issues, among others, on multiple forums time and again.
"He might have a personal opinion, which is different from ours. In the alleged coal scam, a court committee was set up and a JPC was also constituted to look into it. There is no harm in having both. Now people are asking why the PM is afraid of the Adani issue. If the PM says there's nothing to hide, why are they (BJP) afraid of it (a JPC)? The PM is not ready to talk about the Adani issue and its fallout on LIC money, SBI money or the provident fund money," said Patole.
Former Maharashtra chief minister and Congress leader Ashok Chavan said the NCP chief's statement won't hurt Opposition unity in next year's Lok Sabha elections.
"Whatever he has said is his personal view. His party supported the Opposition's call for a JPC on the Adani issue. Now, if Pawar Saheb is saying this, then I believe he articulated his personal opinion. I don't think this statement of his will make any difference to Opposition unity ahead of the general elections next year. However, if the Opposition takes a unanimous decision on any issue, all Opposition forces and leaders should speak in the same voice and put up a united front," said Chavan.
"We have never directly targeted Adani or any industrialist, but this is also about the money that common people have invested. The Adani stocks crashed after the Hindenburg report, also affecting depositors and their money. Hindenburg is an old company about which many of us may not be aware. And since it has brought some charges (against Adani Group) in the public domain, they need to be investigated and that's precisely what we demanded," added Chavan.
Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said that the TMC and NCP have their own opinions on the Adani issue but the same will not affect Opposition unity.
Despite Pawar's divergent opinion in the matter, which he articulated during an interview with a television news channel on Friday, the NCP has backed the demand for a JPC probe into the claims made by the US short-seller against the Adani Group.
"Sharad Pawar said that the Opposition is demanding a JPC but nothing will come out of it as the chairman of the committee will be from the BJP. The TMC and NCP may have their own opinions about Adani but it will not affect Opposition unity," said Raut.
NCP leader Ajit Pawar said, "I also watched Pawar Shahab's interview on TV. He is our top leader and once he takes a stand on an issue then it automatically becomes the party's position. We need not comment on it."
Earlier, on Friday, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said even though the NCP patriarch holds divergent views on Hindenburg report against the Adani Group, 19 like-minded Opposition parties are convinced that the issue is grave in nature.
Responding to Pawar's remarks, Jairam Ramesh said that despite differences of opinion, all 20 like-minded Opposition parties are "united" and will fight to "defeat" the BJP.
Ramesh said in a statement, "The NCP may have a different view but 19 like-minded Opposition parties are convinced that the PM-linked Adani Group issue is real and very serious."
"But all 20 like-minded Opposition parties, including NCP are united and will be together in saving the Constitution and our democracy from the BJP's assaults and in defeating the BJP's divisive and destructive political, social and economic agenda," he added.
On whether his statement would harm the Opposition unity at a time when major Opposition players are adamant on a JPC into the Adani row, Pawar said, "As far as the Opposition unity is concerned, I do not see the demand for a JPC have anything to do with it. My party has extended support to the JPC demand but I feel that the panel will be dominated by ruling party members. That's why I am saying that the demand for a JPC probe should not be linked with Opposition unity." (ANI)