Nirmala Sitharaman in Baramati: ‘I have come here to strengthen BJP, not about family’

Stating that she had come to strengthen the BJP in Baramati Lok Sabha constituency in Pune district, Union Finance Minister and senior party leader Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday clarified that the purpose of her three-day visit to Baramati, considered a stronghold of the Pawar clan He didn’t have to talk about any one family.

Ms. Sitharaman’s visit to Baramati is part of BJP Migrant Campaign to strengthen its base in 144 Lok Sabha constituencies (where the saffron party is weak) across the country ahead of the 2024 general elections.

Sixteen of the 144 Lok Sabha constituencies are in Maharashtra, of which Baramati, hitherto an impregnable stronghold of the Pawar dynasty and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), is a prime target for the BJP.

When reporters questioned her about the BJP’s strategy to target Baramati to end Pawar family domination, an irritable Ms Sitharaman retorted: “I am not here for any one family, but in the constituency. I have come to strengthen BJP… is this Lok Sabha targeting you? [the media] People keep saying I urge the media not to keep repeating this. don’t impose your [the media’s] Opinion on me.”

Also, Ms Sitharaman said that if local BJP leaders felt that her visit would lead to a BJP victory in Baramati (which the BJP has not won in any major election), they were entitled to their opinion.

He said, ‘If my party people are saying this, then it is their opinion. I am not going to argue with him on this. BJP will try to increase its base in every assembly constituency.

BJP state president Chandrashekhar Bawankule had said that his party was confident of giving a tough fight to the NCP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and snatching Baramati from the Pawar family.

‘Trying to control inflation’

When asked about rising inflation, the Finance Minister said that she was speaking on the subject and was regularly replying to the issue in Parliament.

“We are doing everything to keep it under control. Look what is happening all over the world. Inflation in the United States has reached the highest level in 40 years. Inflation in Germany is 30%. We are much better in comparison,” she said.

While NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his daughter, Baramati MP Supriya Sule, both ‘welcomed’ Ms Sitharaman to their constituency, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had no complaints about such etiquette.

Earlier, AAP workers showed black flags on the convoy of the Union Finance Minister in protest against the rising inflation and issues related to the Goods and Services Tax.

Police said three AAP workers were detained during a protest in Pune’s Warje area.