Rajiv Gandhi had ‘Mr Clean’ image, PM Modi enjoys same reputation: Ajit Pawar

Pune: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has said late Rajiv Gandhi was known as `Mr Clean’, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys the same reputation.

Pawar, who split the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and joined the BJP-Shiv Sena government last month, was speaking to reporters in Pune on Tuesday after attending a ceremony where Modi received the Lokmanya Tilak National Award.

He said the people of Pune welcomed Modi by standing on both sides of roads when his convoy was passing.

“I and Devendra ji (deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis) were in the same car in the convoy. We did not see any black flags during Modi’s journey to the venue. In fact, we saw that people, standing on both sides of the road, welcomed and greeted him,” said Pawar, when pointed out that NCP workers (of the rival faction) staged a protest and showed black flags during the prime minister’s visit.

“Any prime minister will think of having a good atmosphere in the country from the law and order point of view. Nobody supported whatever that is happening in Manipur. The prime minister has taken cognizance of the issue. Chief Justice of India has also taken cognizance. Everyone has condemned whatever happened there,” said Pawar.

The Centre and the Manipur government are ensuring the culprits of May 3 incident (where two women were paraded naked) are punished, he said.

Modi works for 18 hours a day, Pawar said. “During Diwali, while rest of the country celebrates Diwali at home, he celebrates it with army soldiers on the borders,” he said.

“We have been seeing his work for the last nine years. There is no other leader with popularity like Modi at the international level. The truth is the truth. I want development. Being in an opposition party, we can stage protests and take out morchas, but the decision lies with those who are in power,” Pawar said.

The NCP leader said he joined the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government for all-round development of Maharashtra.

“There is no other personality in the country who has popularity like Modi ji. Look at the work he has done in terms of infrastructure, the kind of respect India gets at the global level,” the deputy CM said.

“Indira Gandhi used to get similar kind of respect (when she visited other countries)….Rajiv Gandhi had an image of Mr Clean. Similarly, we are seeing (that) in the form of Modi,” he said.