Mumbai : Union Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar yesterday stoked a controversy when he asked his party workers to take advantage of the multi-phase polling in the state by “voting twice” but later sought to temper his remarks saying they were made in a “lighter vein”.
Pawar, during the conclave of ‘mathadi' (head loaders) workers in adjoining Navi Mumbai, asked NCP activists to take advantage of the multi-phase polling in the state by voting twice, first at their hometowns and then at places of work.
“Last time (in 2009), the polling in Satara and Mumbai was on the same day and people went to their hometowns. But this time, polling in Satara is on April 17 and here on April 24,” Pawar told the gathering of the workers who hailed from Satara district in Western Maharashtra.
“Vote for the ‘clock' (NCP symbol) there (in Satara) and come back to vote for the ‘clock' here as well,” he said, to loud laughs at the gathering held in the APMC market here.
Pawar, however, later told reporters in Mumbai that his statement was made in “a lighter vein and had a tinge of satire to it”.
“Party workers get bored by same cliched electoral speeches. The statement which I made earlier in the day was in a lighter vein,” the NCP chief said in suburban Bhandup where he was campaigning for party candidate Sanjay Dina Patil who is contesting from the Mumbai North East seat.
“My statement should not be misinterpreted. Bogus voting does not take place in our state,” he said.
Pawar, the student union activist-turned-national leader, however, asked party leaders to circumspect before delivering any speech.
“All leaders should be careful while delivering their speech. They should see there is no slip of tongue,” he said.