Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra of using allegations of a plot to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi to gain sympathy, ANI reported. Pawar said the BJP had resorted to such tactics after losing the support of people.

On June 8, the Pune Police claimed to have found a letter at the home of one of the five activists it had arrested the day before, suggesting a plot to kill Modi in his roadshows in a “Rajiv Gandhi-type incident”. The police had accused the activists of links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Some Opposition parties have also expressed doubts about the credibility of the alleged letter.

Pawar made the comment during his address at a Halla Bol rally against the BJP in Pune. The NCP leader alleged the BJP was using the “sympathy card by circulating the so-called threat letters which lacked authenticity”.

“But I am sure the people will not fall prey to such tactics,” Pawar said. “I have spoken to a senior retired police officer in the Crime Investigation Department who told me that when such letters come, they do not go to the media but to the security agencies, and adequate security measures are taken.”

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis criticised the Opposition leader for his statement.

“It is very unfortunate that Sharad Pawar ji is raising doubts about the communication ceased by the police which reveals the plot to assassinate PM Modi,” Fadnavis tweeted. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the leader of our nation and not just of a political party. Sharad Pawar is not expected to stoop down to this level. Police has all the evidences and truth will prevail.”

‘Those arrested are innocent’

Pawar asserted that the people arrested for inciting the violence in Bhima-Koregaon earlier this year were innocent. “When like-minded people came together to organise Elgar Parishad, they were called Naxalites and arrested,” Pawar said. “Everyone knows who executed the Bhima Koregaon violence, but those who have no link with it were arrested. This is misuse of power.”

Activist Rona Wilson and lawyer Surendra Gadling were among the five arrested on June 7 on suspicion of having links with Maoists. All five are social activists who work with Dalits, Adivasis and political prisoners. They were arrested over a month after raids at their homes and offices in connection with an event to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon on December 31.

The police believe the event was funded by the banned outfit. A case filed in January claimed that the event had led to the violence a day later, in which one person was killed. Two people accused of the violence on January 1 – Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide – are Hindutva activists. Neither of them have been arrested so far.