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Pawar who cautioned Tendulkar was silent on Deshmukh | India News


Veteran politician Sharadchandra Govindrao Pawar recently suggested to renowned cricketer Sachin Tendulkar to “be careful while speaking on the issues related to other fields”.
Pawar completed his SSC in 1958 from Maharashtra State Board and took to politics to serve the country. Tendulkar too left studies after class 10 to serve India through cricket. Both have achieved enviable laurels in their fields.
The seasoned Maratha politician from Baramati has won appreciations cutting across party lines for his wiry thinking to retain hold over voters for more than half a century, weathering swinging electoral mandates. Tendulkar got accolades for his ability to survive and score prolifically while facing hostile, swinging and spinning spells by great bowlers across the world to emerge as one of the greatest cricketers.
An 80-year-old Pawar certainly has the experience to advise a 47-year-old Tendulkar to be cautious while tweeting in defence of the country at a time when anyone speaking for or against the farmers’ agitation stokes a fiery counter blast from netizens.
Tendulkar was nominated to Rajya Sabha in April 2012 when Pawar was the agriculture minister, a post he held for a record 10 years in the UPA government. In the history of independent India, no politician had held this post for more than five years. That, in addition to Pawar’s roots in agrarian politics coupled with a fair bit of dabble in cricket as administrator, gave him the authority to even cajole the demigod of Indian cricket.
Pawar has been vociferous about farmers’ plight and raspingly critical of the three farm laws ever since these were enacted. Despite conceding that he did propose reforms similar to the legislations in the past, he threw his weight behind the protesting farmers who have dug their heels at Delhi’s borders for the last two and half months.
When Pawar was the Union agriculture minister from 2004-2014, the statistics about farmers’ suicide would have made him a sad person. Between 1995-2014, nearly three lakh farmers committed suicide across the country, the graveyards being Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
In Pawar’s political backyard, the number was alarmingly high. Given the fact that the Maratha strongman’s heart bled for farmers, it was expected of him to work tirelessly to ameliorate the plight of farmers and mitigate their hardships to enable them dream of a better life than to prefer death.
Sadly, on an average, 3,685 farmers in the state took their lives every year between 2004-13, which was 42% more than the yearly average of farm suicides recorded between 1995-2003. Well, there was no social media and committed lawyers to singe him with vitriolic trolling or snipe at him through PILs in the Supreme Court.
Interestingly, when Pawar was the agriculture minister, former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was drafted into Manmohan Singh’s Cabinet in May 2009.
A year and half later, the Supreme Court in ‘Maharashtra vs Sarangdharsingh Sivadassingh Chavan’ castigated Deshmukh, for protecting money lenders while he was the CM of the state.
In that judgment, the SC had talked about hundreds of farmers preferring death instead of getting tortured by money lenders in Vidarbha region. It had said, “This being the ground reality, as the CM of the state and as holding a position of great responsibility as a high constitutional functionary, Vilasrao Deshmukh certainly acted beyond all legal norms by giving directions to the collector to protect members of a particular family who are dealing in money lending business from the normal process of law.
“This amounts to bestowing special favour to some chosen few at the cost of the vast number of poor people who as farmers have taken loans and who have come to the authorities of law,” it had said.
Even after the SC’s stinging indictment, Deshmukh continued as minister in the then UPA government and Pawar had not expressed any public advice to then PM, as he did in Tendulkar’s case, on exercise caution in retaining a man viewed as anti-farmer by the highest court of the land.

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