Nashik (Maharashtra), Jan 17 (IANS) Refusing to be drawn into the furore over Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s remarks on the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar on Friday said he was not interested in being dragged into the row.
“I am keeping away from Raut’s statements. I feel he should not have made the remarks about Indira Gandhi. However, now that he has withdrawn his statements, the controversy has ended,” Pawar told media persons here.
The NCP chief said that while working in public life, political leaders meet all types of people every time, and all are not known to them.
Pawar said that there was even some speculation that Haji Mastan was present at one of his public rallies in south Mumbai, but said he had absolutely no knowledge of it.
“I am not going to advise any leader to refrain from making such controversial statements… They all are very intelligent. Our priority is to run the (Maharashtra) government for five years. The Congress is very understanding,” he said.
Raut’s statements on Wednesday claiming Indira Gandhi had come to Mumbai to meet underworld don Karim Lala had evoked strong protests in political and social circles, threatening to rock the two month old Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance government in the state.
Though the relatives of both Karim Lala and Haji Mastan endorsed his utterances which referred to a bygone era in Indian politics, they said these were being “twisted out of context and misinterpreted” by the Opposition parties without understanding the context.
After protests from the Congress, Raut on Thursday afternoon said he had the highest respect for Indira Gandhi and retracted his comments if they had hurt anybody’s sentiments.