NEW DELHI: Targeting Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari as promised, activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal today alleged that the BJP president is involved the Maharashtra irrigation scam along with former state deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.
Kejriwal alleged Wednesday that Gadkari had colluded with NCP's Ajit Pawar to exploit farmers in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region.
Launching a scathing attack, Kejriwal alleged that Gadkari has a business empire in Maharashtra and also said that the BJP president's power firms are huge polluters in the region.
Asking whether the BJP was an opposition party or acting in concert with the government, Kejriwal said Gadkari was involved in land and irrigation scams in Maharashtra. He asked whether Gadkari's business instincts clashed with the interests of farmers in Maharashtra.
"Gadkari took away land of the farmers and their water... He has sympathy for the contractors but not the farmers," Kejriwal told a crowded press conference.
"Is the BJP an opposition party or does it work in collusion with the ruling party?" he asked.
He claimed that Gadkari pleaded with the IAC activist not to expose him this morning.
Kejriwal alleged that Gadkari got 100 acres of excess land thanks to Ajit Pawar. He further alleged that Gadkari has five power plants and two sugar plants in Maharashtra. He also added that the land for these plants given to him Vidarbha was in violation of a government order.
Alleging that Gadkari's businesses were flourishing at the cost of farmers' rights, Kejriwal said that land belonging to farmers were given to Gadkari expand his business.
"Despite farmers' protests, excess land was given to Gadkari in this region which has the dubious distinction of having a large number of farmer suicides," Kejriwal charged.
"These dams have been constructed for providing water for irrigation to farmers in this region. However, almost the entire water is being diverted for power and sugar industry.
"Nobody got even a drop of water," Kejriwal said. "Gadkari's business interests are clashing with farmers' issues in Vidarbha," he added.
Kejriwal said that Anjali Damania, a Mumbai-based activist, who in September 2012 claimed that Gadkari and NCP chief Sharad Pawar were hand in glove with each other.
Kejriwal said when IAC member Anjali Damania had approached Gadkari with regards to the Maharashtra irrigation scam, the BJP leader did nothing to address her concerns.
Earlier, Damania had said that Gadkari would be the next person to be exposed before the public.
"Gadkari's name cropped up twice earlier. He is linked to the Coalgate in some or the other way and then he refused to help expose the irrigation scam (in Maharashtra). Being the president of the opposition party, it is his responsibility to expose the scam," Damania said.
"And why he does not want to do it, we would be bringing this forward. We would be exposing why Nitin Gadkari's doesn't say anything," she added.
Damania alleged that the scams are taking place because all the political parties are linked to it.
Kejriwal, the 44-year-old leader of a yet-to-be-named political party, said the country's citizens were no longer scared to speak out against powerful politicians and termed it as a positive outcome of making public the business deals of Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra.
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