Activist-cum-politician Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday fired a round of allegations against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Nitin Gadkari, citing his involvement in a large scale irrigation scam.
India Against Corruption (IAC) members alleged that Gadkari has been using his position to develop his business empire and that he owns five power-producing industries and three sugar industries in Maharashtra.
Kejriwal accompanied by Supreme Court lawyer Prasnath Bhushan and other IAC activists, didn't just target Gadkari but also brought to question the functioning of the whole political system in the country.
He alleged of a direct quid pro quo between BJP and Congress-NCP led government in Maharashtra that helped Gadkari secure tracts of land from state farmers.
According to IAC findings, former Irrigation Minister Ajit Pawar sanctioned farmers' land in Vidarbha to Gadkari's companies and the farmers were threatened by Gadkari's henchmen after demanding the return of the unused land.
In light of the recent allegations, a new mudslinging game commenced between political outfits and anti-corruption activists.
Here are the latest comments from political leaders on Kejriwal's exposure of Gadkari:
"I have been saying from the very beginning that Nitin Gadkari is more a businessman than a politician. What Kejriwal has said is nothing new. It was already in public domain". "I am disappointed by the charges of Kejriwal. I have already said that they are the B-team of BJP", said Digvijay Singh, the General Secretary of the Congress party, according to Press Trust of India.
In a press meet by IAC, Gadkari dismissed the allegations of land scam against him as "laughable". He said that the charges against him were the result of a conspiracy between the activists and Congress party, which is already hit by corruption charges.
He also said that his value of assets remained unchanged. "When I filed my nomination papers for legislative council election in 2008, my total assets were worth Rs 8 crore and liabilities stood at Rs 2 crore. That includes my car and ancestral property. Since then, there has been no change in the assets and liabilities," Gadkari told The Times of India.
"Today's press conference (by the IAC) is a failed attempt to bring a moral equivalence between Congress and BJP... A mountain (has been made) of what was not even a molehill," senior BJP leader Jaitley said in a joint press conference with Sushma Swaraj, according to a Hindustan Times report.
"I don't see the question at all. This whole thing has come from IAC activists' keenness to draw an equivalence and make a space for themselves and today they include the entire spectrum of India's polity. We have known that. Good luck to them. Let them go for an election campaign. But it was without substance, it was just a kind of hit and run," said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, according to CNN IBN. "Today IAC has made an allegation. That allegation fell flat. We have dealt with it and we will carry on and move on."
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