Mumbai: There has been an uproar over Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar's statements at a rally where he tried to joke about someone on a fast in the drought-hit state asking 'how to release water from dams, by urinating?' He has been forced to apologise.
This was Pawar's question to drought stricken farmers, "Somebody is there on a fast for 55 days now. His name is some Deshmukh. He is asking us to release water from dams. How could one do that? We don't have water in dams, what to do? Should we urinate in the dam? The problem is that there is no water to drink, so how could we even urinate?"
The Opposition was quickly on the warpath. In Kolhapur, Pawar's effigy was burnt. Bharatiya Janata Party leader Prakash Javadekar said, "His utterly irresponsible statements are an insult to the people of Maharashtra."
Even his own party found it hard to defend him. NCP leader Jitendra Awhad said, "In his serious speech he just made a humorous remark. He wasn't ridiculing anyone." NCP chief Sharad Pawar quickly issued an apology saying, "I humbly apologise to the people of Maharashtra for having hurt their sentiments. The state government is committed to providing every kind of relief for drought affected regions."
But in a state that is in the grip of a severe crisis, it's a promise many aren't buying. Especially since Pawar has held the irrigation portfolio for several years and had earlier had to resign following allegations of massive irregularities in irrigation projects before being reinstated.