In his first speech on Sunday after being released on bail, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chaggan Bhujbal tore into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in the state and declared that would take to the streets to fight for the people’s issues. During his hour-long speech at the NCP’s 20th foundation day event in Pune, Mr Bhujbal said there was no question of him quitting the NCP. He also used the opportunity to clarify his position on Maharashtra Sadan, the alleged scam for which he went to jail.
“My family members used to meet him every week,” said Mr Bhujbal, referring to party chief Sharad Pawar. “If they missed meeting him, he used to call and ask them why they didn’t turn up? How can I leave this party.” He got emotional during his speech when he spoke about his case details. “Our houses were raided seven times. All properties are attached. My family used to spend days in malls or at homes of relatives to avoid embarrassment. I have faced a lot,” he said.
Speaking on the issue of reservation, Mr Bhujbal said, “Pawar saheb gave reservation to OBCs, women. The opposition party was opposing it. I want to tell OBCs that this is fact and to never forget it.”
Speaking at the same event, Mr Pawar came down heavily on the BJP government in the state and the centre. He appealed to the people to vote the BJP out of power in the 2019 general and assembly elections. He said the NCP has organised a Halla Bol yatra in western Maharashtra. “The BJP can be defeated in coming election if we join hands. Now leaders of opposition parties are arriving at the decision to join hands. We can defeat this government by 2019,” he said.