‘They love us’: Sharad Pawar, on day-long fast, takes jibe at Centre over tax notice

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday took at a dig at the Centre after receiving a notice from the Income Tax department. The notice, he said, was sent to him because the Centre “loves us”.

“We are happy that they (the Centre) love us from among all the members… the notice was served by Income Tax after the Election Commission asked (it) to… we will reply to the notice,” he said while speaking to reporters.

The notice was sent in connection with poll affidavits Pawar submitted to the Election Commission.

Pawar said the Income Tax department has sought his “clarification and explanation” on some poll affidavits.

The NCP chief was responding to a question on reports that his daughter and Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and state environment minister Aaditya Thackeray had received similar notices from the Income Tax department.

He is observing a day-long fast on Tuesday to protest the suspension of eight Rajya Sabha members. Pawar, a Rajya Sabha member, bemoaned the conduct of deputy chairman Harivansh and the Modi government’s decision of “bulldozing” the Opposition in the House.

“The eight MPs were expelled for expressing their opinion,” Pawar said, adding that the deputy chairman did not give priority to (House) rules.

The MPs were suspended for the remaining part of the monsoon session over their “misbehavior” during the passage of the farm bills on Sunday. The two agricultural bills – the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 – were cleared by voice vote in Parliament. The Opposition was demanding that these bills should be sent to a select committee.

Three of the eight suspended MPs belong to the Congress. The party, along with a few others, has said that they will boycott the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha till the time the MPs’ suspension is revoked.

The Congress has also said that it will hit the streets across the country against the government for passing “anti-farmer and anti-poor” bills in Parliament.

The party will also launch a campaign to collect two crore signatures from protesting farmers against the proposed legislations.

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