‘You Want To Hang Mr Pawar For What He Has Done?’

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Sharad Pawar’s daughter and NCP MP Supriya Sule tells Shobhita Naithani that her father’s visit to Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray was personal

Photo: Deepak Salvi

What is NCP’s take on the Shiv Sena’s threats to Shah Rukh Khan and Rahul Gandhi? Why has it been quiet?
We condemn any kind of violence; no matter who does it. We have not been quiet. You have seen the success story of Rahul Gandhi’s visit.

Why did Sharad Pawar plead with Sena chief Bal Thackeray to let the Australians play in the IPL?
Sometimes a lot of things can be sorted out at a personal level. They don’t have to be confrontational all the time.

What authority does Bal Thackeray have?
He had been threatening [to disrupt IPL matches]. And when a friend of yours threatens, you have to ask him the reason.

The Shiv Sena, with Bal Thackeray’s go-ahead, has routinely resorted to violence. Why did Pawar need permission from a person backing those who take the law in their hands?
He didn’t go to [Thackeray] to seek permission.

Are the Thackerays more powerful than the state government?
Power is relative. I could think I’m the most powerful. But that doesn’t matter.

Why should Pawar plead with Bal Thackeray to seek his cooperation, when he is going against the government?
Why not? He is a pal. You have to explain to him that his approach may not be in the interest of the nation.

As a senior politician, shouldn’t Pawar have gone to Thackeray when north Indians were being beaten or when the Shah Rukh Khan issue was raised?
Why should he take up Shah Rukh’s issue?

It concerns the public. Khan wasn’t speaking for himself.
If Shah Rukh talks to Mr Pawar, I’m sure he will intervene.

Does the Maharashtra government see Pawar’s visit as a lowering of the guard against the Shiv Sena?
Mr Pawar works at the Centre, not the state. It is his prerogative to go and see whoever he wants.

Why give the Shiv Sena so much importance?
The media showed the visit live on television. Mr Pawar hadn’t invited the media.

But as a senior politician, should Pawar have gone to meet the Thackeray at a time when the Shiv Sena’s actions are being condemned by everyone?
How do you know he hasn’t gone on a peaceful visit?

This time he didn’t go as a friend. He is the president of the Mumbai Cricket Association.
BCCI President Shashank Manohar requested him to intervene and he went as a neutral friend.

Is it not embarrassing for the government? Union Home Minister P Chidambaram rejected ‘the thesis’ of Shiv Sena and the MNS and said that there was no need for foreign cricketers to worry about their security.
You want to hang Mr Pawar for what he has done? You are asking me as if he has raped, killed, murdered someone? What wrong has he done? He didn’t go to meet a mobster.

Someone has to tell Bal Thackeray that violence embarrasses the country

But he [Thackeray] is a politician backing mobsters.
If a friend does something wrong, I should tell him that.

Pawar’s visit has led to murmurs that he approves of Thackeray’s violent threats.
Has he justified it? Someone has to tell him [Thackeray] that violence does not embarrass a state only. It embarrasses the country.

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