Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Monday alleged NCP president Sharad Pawar played "caste card" against him and frequently made indirect references about it. In an interview to Marathi daily 'Loksatta' in Mumbai,
Fadnavis, a Brahmin, said caste may be an issue for some political leaders, but not for people.
"I am not a person who keeps records of my achievements or how many people accept me, but the distinctive success of my work is that Pawar, as a progressive leader, made veiled references of my caste on several occasions.
"He does not talk of anything else about me, but reminds (people) about my caste," said the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly.
Fadnavis (49) was asked whether Pawar was settling scores with him as the BJP had won most of the elections to urban civic bodies and Zilla Parishads (ZPs) in the five years of his chief ministership (2014-19).
The 79-year-old Maratha strongman had played a key role in bringing leaders of the Shiv Sena and the Congress to form non-BJP Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in which his party is also a constituent.
"In a recent interview to ABP (a Marathi news channel), Sharad Pawar made an indirect reference to my caste.
I am a Brahmin and entire world knows it," said the MLA from Nagpur South West.
"People have accepted me as I am. I do feel that I must have achieved some position in the state politics otherwise at least Sharad Pawar would not have brought up by caste so frequently," Fadnavis said.
Fadnavis said when leaders run out of issues, they bring up his caste.
Commenting on other leaders also making similar remarks, he said, "There are many such people. Whenever my opponents are without any issues, they bring out my caste.
"I am of the opinion that caste is in the minds of leaders and not in people's minds."