Sharad Pawar Clarifies “Outsider” Remark, Highlights Contributions to Women’s Empowerment

Sharad Pawar

In a recent clarification addressing the contentious “outsider” comment, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar reaffirmed his dedication to women’s empowerment, highlighting his pioneering efforts in instituting reservations for women in local bodies. The statement comes amidst a heated debate sparked by Pawar’s remarks regarding his daughter-in-law Sunetra Pawar and the broader political landscape.

Speaking from Satara, Pawar emphasized his unwavering respect for women and lamented the unnecessary emotional uproar surrounding his earlier comments. “Unnecessarily, opponents are making it an issue and trying to make it emotional. Maharashtra and the country know my opinion and respect about women,” Pawar asserted.

Highlighting his track record in championing gender inclusivity, Pawar underscored his role as the first chief minister to introduce reservations for women in local self-government and government positions. He also recalled his pioneering initiatives as Defence Minister, where he facilitated the inclusion of women in the Army, Air Force, and Navy, showcasing his longstanding commitment to women’s rights and representation.

The controversy erupted following remarks made by Pawar during a political rally where he responded to his nephew Ajit Pawar’s appeal to voters in Baramati to support candidates with the Pawar surname in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Pawar’s assertion of an “original” Pawar versus an “outsider” stirred a fierce backlash, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Ajit Pawar-led faction of the NCP accusing him of marginalizing Sunetra Pawar.

However, Pawar clarified that his comments were a response to a media query and not intended to disparage any individual. He reiterated his family’s respect for Sunetra Pawar and emphasized that his earlier remarks should not be misconstrued as a reflection of his views towards her.

The controversy took a personal turn when the media sought Sunetra Pawar’s reaction to the remarks, leading to an emotional response from her, declining to comment further on the matter.

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