Nitin Gadkari rebuts IAC's allegations

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Nitin Gadkari
New Delhi, Oct 17: Barely an hour after Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Anjali Damania and other members of India Against Corruption today levelled a series of allegations against BJP president Nitin Gadkari, he and his party colleagues rebutted all the charges.

Gadkari first asserted that he had set up sugar companies to help farmers who were dying in hundreds in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.

As for the second charge about the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra allocating the land that it had acquired from farmers to Gadkari, the BJP chief said that the land had been given to a NGO and not his companies as such.

Gadkari also dismissed IAC's third allegation that his firms had polluted the environment. Pointing out that "only 0.8 per cent of water from the dam is used in my factory", he said that the rest of the water is diverted to other factories and is used by farmers too.

Gadkari said that the farmer cited by Arvind Kejriwal and Anjali Damania to buttress their claims is still involved in agriculture. He described the allegations as "a conspiracy by the Congress party and Kejriwal".

Gadkari said that the irrigation scam in Maharashtra was exposed by his party and not by Anjali Damania. "I have even written a book on irrigation," he said and added that he is ready for any inquiry.

A short while later, BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley made more or less similar points while addressing newspersons.

Dubbing the allegations as the "Kejri-bomb", Swaraj said that Kejriwal had used today's press conference as a platform to boost the prospects of his yet-to-be-formed party."The only thing they did not do is ask for votes," she quipped.

Swaraj said that the land wherein the members of India Against Corruption are averring farmers used to cultivate crops is in fact a wasteland. "Nitinji turned the plot into a nursery for saplings. In western Maharashtra, farmers usually pay Rs 13 for a sapling but Nitinji provides the same to farmers for just Rs 5," Swaraj said.

Referring to the fable about a cowherd repeatedly alerting fellow villagers about tiger's presence and not a single villager came to his aid when the animal actually attacked the person, Swaraj said: "Kejriwal's situation is no different. If every time he makes such baseless allegations, no one will believe him."

Arun Jaitley said that Kejriwal had damaged his own credibility by equating BJP and Congress. The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha quipped that India Against Corruption has "made a mountain of what was not even a molehill".

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