Satara (Maharashtra) Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar Sunday undertook a fast in Karnad today to repent for his widely flayed remarks on Maharashtra's drought. But the opposition was not impressed.
"This is not a publicity stunt. I really mean it. I admit that all politicians should speak with responsibility," Pawar said after he started his fast.
Agriculture Minister and Ajit Pawar's uncle, Sharad Pawar, Saturday pulled up his nephew for his utterances, calling his language "most inappropriate".
Earlier this month, at a public meeting in Pune, Ajit Pawar said that if there was no water in the dams, was he expected to urinate in them?
The statement triggered a storm across Maharashtra, and the opposition demanded that he be sacked from the ministry. A chastened Ajit Pawar then offered apologies but it did not cut any ice.
Ajit Pawar Sunday fasted near the samadhi of Maharashtra leader Yeshwantrao Chavan at Karad, 54 km from Satara town.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena called it an attempt by Pawar to whitewash his "disgusting and rude" attitude.
"His words show lack of commitment and understanding. He must resign," said Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe.
Said a BJP spokesperson: "There is a method in his madness... He will continue to offend people in many other ways."
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray said there was no point in repenting because his remarks have done enough harm.
Farmer advocacy group Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), which works for the cause of farmers in Vidarbha region, called the fast a hoax.
"Ajit Pawar is directly responsible for the multi-crore irrigation scam due to which over 10,000 farmers have lost their lives. His real atonement will be his criminal prosecution," said VJAS president Kishor Tiwari.
"Ajit Pawar should not only be sacked but sent to a mental asylum... His remarks reflect his attitude and insensitivity towards farmers," said Bebitai Bais, president of the Vidrabha Farm Widows Asoociation.