Wary of being seen with Darda, Pawar calls off Vidarbha visit
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Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has called off his Vidarbha visit. Sources said he wanted to avoid sharing dais with Congress Rajya Sabha member Vijay Darda, whose premises were raided by CBI recently in the coal block allotment case.
Pawar was to tour the region from September 16 after a gap of four years. He was to visit Amravati, Wardha and Nagpur on September 17. The Minister has been criticised for neglecting Vidarbha, which has been in the news for its farm crisis.
While no official reason was given for the cancellation, grapevine has it that Pawar wanted to avoid being seen with Darda at a programme organised by Marwadi Foundation to honour Marathi litterateur Yashwant Manohar.
BJP Rajya Sabha member Ajay Sancheti, who is vice-president of the foundation, and industrialist Satyanarayan Nuwal, its working president, both figuring in the coal blocks controversy, are also part of the programme.
NCP Minister Anil Deshmukh, who had addressed the media on the Pawar visit, was not available for comment.
Foundation president and NCP leader Girish Gandhi said, "Pawar has deferred, not cancelled, the visit. We don't know the reason, but media speculation is baseless. We will go ahead with our programme."
Another NCP leader also dismissed the speculation. "In our party there are so many controversial people. Chhagan Bhujbal's name is the latest in the Maharashtra Sadan case. So, does Pawar stop being seen with them all?" he said.
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