New Delhi: At a time when the BJP’s national executive meet is underway, party president Nitin Gadkari has lot to explain after an India against Corruption (IAC) activist accused him of not wanting to take a stand on the irrigation scams in Maharashtra as he had a business relationship with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar.
Activist Anjali Damania – who has fought illegal dams with the RTI Act - had convened a press conference yesterday in which she, without naming Gadkari, referred to a party president in the Opposition who refused to do anything to help her in the fight against illegal dams citing business interests with the NCP.
Strangely, shortly after the press meet, Gadkari issued a clarification that he had never met Ms Damania, though she had not named him.
Gadkari’s claim angered the activist and she went public with details about her meeting with Gadkari.
“Yes, it was Mr Nitin Gadkari who told me this (ties with NCP) when I met him on August 14 around 10 am at his residence in Worli, Mumbai,” she said.
“I had gone to Gadkari after I came to know that he was being persuaded by religious leader Bhaiyyu Maharaj to go easy on the irrigation scams, allegedly perpetrated by the NCP,” Damania said.
The religious leader wanted Gadkari to dissuade BJP leader Kirit Somaiya from filing a public interest litigation petition on irrigation and other scams, she said.
The IAC activist claimed that she met Gadkari to request him to pursue such cases in public interest.
However, to her utter shock and dismay, Gadkari said he had close links with the NCP, and that Somaiya was an eccentric man and he did not know what he was doing.
As per Damania, the BJP president told her that he had told Somaiya that as party members, it was adequate to raise issues in the legislature or hold press conferences and not get into filing petitions.
Hugely upset, Damania said she sent a long sms to Gadkari’s personal number in which she termed his stand as a huge setback for the country.
“First he talks rot and then he lies. I had not named him at the press conference, then why did he clarify and say he has never met me,” she told a newspaper.
The NCP is in the centre of several scams over a decade, and its leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has resigned, citing the allegations against him.