Maharashtra BJP dismisses Cong-NCP charges against Gujarat govt

Mumbai, April 6: Maharashtra BJP on April 5 rubbished the allegations of the Congress-NCP against Gujarat government that the latter had asked for reimbursement of Rs 22.5 crore for the cattle feed, which was provided to a state dairy as "drought relief" aid.

Addressing a press conference, BJP spokesman Madhav Bhandari said the issue was between two agencies - Gujarat-based Mehsana milk federation and Mahananda state co-operative dairy.

"Gujarat and Maharashtra governments have nothing to do with the issue. Vipul Chaudhary, head of the Mehsana milk federation is a close associate of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar. Chaudhary was lobbying for the presidentship of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), but could not get it because of the corruption allegations against the Mehsana federation," Bhandari said.

"He provided the cattle feed without the permission of its board of directors and Mahananda had not given any acknowledgement that it had received such an aid," Bhandari said.

"The controversy is about differences among the board of directors and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has nothing to do with it. Why is Congress-NCP dragging Modi into the matter?" he asked.

Members of the Mehsana milk federation have been targetting the functioning of the institution since 2010. "A PIL was also filed in December 2013. Gujarat government's co-operation commissioner has initiated a high-level probe into the allegations against the Mehsana milk federation and its president has moved the High Court against the inquiry," he said.

Bhandari asked if Pawar was so sympathetic towards the cause of the state's farmers, why has the Centre not accepted Maharashtra government's proposal for minimum support price of 15 crops.

"The Maharashtra government had sought Rs 2,609 per quintal of rice, but the Centre approved Rs 1,310. Similar was the case of jowar, bajra, maize, tur and moong dal, among others. The Centre has fixed MSP 50 per cent lower than what the state government had proposed," he said.


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