Panaji: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his attack on the Congress, saying in a parliamentary set up one should not try to completely rule out any force though there may be differences of opinion even as he dismissed talk of an alliance with the BJP.
"We have heard his (Modi) speeches. His main target is to finish Congress. In a parliamentary set up one should not expect to totally finish others, although there may be differences of opinion and views," he said at a press meet at Panaji on Monday.
"If anybody who is occupying such a high position in the country is making statements that I want to finish someone, we don't believe in that," he said, while stating that NCP itself has certain differences and issues with the Congress.
"We have certain issues and differences with the Congress party, but we don't say that Congress has not done anything in this country right from Independence. We have differences but that differences we are not taking to that level to finish anybody," he said.
Notably, Modi had recently said at an election rally in Punjab that the Congress was a "thing of the past." He had also dubbed Congress as a "sinking ship" and said people should not board it as it would not help them reach anywhere.
While addressing a public meeting in Vasco Sunday night, Pawar scotched rumours that his party was cosying up to BJP, saying it will never support the saffron party nor join hands with communal forces and compromise on secularism.
"There are rumours being spread that NCP is growing close to BJP. This is absolutely false news. NCP will never support BJP," he said.
"We will never compromise on secularism. NCP will never be with the communal forces. Those who are favouring and spreading communalism, we will never be with them," said Pawar, who was recently honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, country’s second highest civilian award.
With Shiv Sena calling off its two-decade-old alliance with the BJP for the upcoming civic polls in Maharashtra, speculation was rife that it could look at NCP to fill the crucial gap to ensure stability of the state government in the event of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party pulling out of it.
Pawar said it is difficult to run poll campaign post demonetisation.
"NCP is a national party because we have MLAs in eight states. It's a new party and to be frank, to form a party and contest election throughout India is not an easy thing.
"Nowadays elections are becoming very expensive. To run the campaign itself is very difficult after this currency issue," he said.
He slammed Modi over demonetisation and held him responsible for "generating unemployment" in the unorganised sector and spelling doom on various others including the powerloom industry.
He accused the PM of having taken demonetisation decision to "misguide" and divert the attention of the people from his "failure" to bring back black money from abroad.
"The PM overnight terminated a lot of currency and within a day, the entire country was standing in queues outside banks," he said.
Meanwhile, responding to a question by mediapersons, Pawar rejected the suggestion that the strength of NCP is reducing, but admitted that not allying with Congress in the civic elections is affecting both the parties.
"Last 15 years, Congress and NCP have worked together. We have ruled together. This election also in Maharashtra we were planning to be together, but in the last minute Congress took a stand because they were not ready to accept our suggestion about the number of constituencies," he said.
"Our assessment was that our strength is equal to their's (Congress - in Maharashtra). Because of the division, our number has gone down. In the municipal elections also, Congress and NCP numbers combined are much much bigger than (those of) BJP," Pawar said.