Millennium Post

Pawar’s comments hide deeper malice

Politicians with a foot in the mouth disease don’t always seem to be aware of the import of the words they utter. Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar crossed all lines of decency when commenting about a farmer’s protest against the lack of water in the drought hit state. He blithely remarked at a public meeting at Indapur, and it is scarcely necessary to repeat his vulgar comments as they are known to the whole country beyond saying that they alluded to ‘urination’ in the context of filling dams. Pawar uttered his words referring to a two-month-long protest by the farmer, who is demanding dam water for his parched field. The politician’s remark trivialises drought in Maharashtra, makes fun of the farmer’s agitation and attempts to draw a laugh from his audience. Though Pawar has now apologised after much public outrage, his remarks are crass in the extreme and unbecoming of the high office he holds. They are a sign of the times and indicate how low public discourse in the country can become at times.  They are indicative of how dismissive a new class of politicians is about the actual problems of the people, which they are elected to solve.

The scarcity of water is a serious problem across much of Maharashtra today. As the heat rises the land gets parched and in at least 15 out of the 35 districts of Maharashtra access to water for cultivating crops vanishes not to talk of water for drinking purposes. This is no laughing matter but a life and death one which needs to be seriously remedied. Unfortunately, in the last decade in Maharashtra land under irrigation has hardly gone up by more than one per cent despite the enormous outlays on dams and irrigation projects. It is scarcely surprising that the minister in charge of irrigation and water resources for nearly a decade during this period was none other than Pawar himself. It could well be imagined that Pawar would be well-versed in the problems of water scarcity and be sympathetic to the cause of farmers. This has not proved to be the case.  It is worth noting that Pawar has claims to the highest office in his state, that of the chief minister, which he would like to hold in the future. He should, instead, consider resigning, given his lack of sensitivity to the public causes, which he claims he serves.
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