The Bharatiya Janata Party has dubbed assets declaration by chief minister and his wife as a political gimmick to divert attention from corruption charges and draw people’s attention with an eye on 2017 state elections.
The Congress party had declared Rs 5 crore worth of assets jointly owned by chief minister Harish Rawat and his wife Renuka on Wednesday. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party leaders have termed it as a damage control exercise by the chief minister who had allegedly been protecting his officials involved in a multi-crore relief scam post 2013 catastrophe.
However, Vidhan Sabha secretary Jagdish Chandra said that legislators and ministers were supposed to submit assets details to assembly secretariat every year as per the Uttar Pradesh Re-organisation Act, 2000, (which is in force in Uttarakhand too). These details are entered into the gazette and changes, if any, are made every year, he said. Chandra said that so far only 27 out of total 71 legislators had submitted the details of their assets.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s leader of opposition Ajay Bhatt said, “There is nothing great about the chief minister and his wife declaring their assets. In fact, it was a belated move as I had submitted the details of all my assets to the Speaker long back.”
He called it political stunt on part of the chief minister with an eye on the 2017 assembly elections and a calculated move to divert the people’s attention from the issue of corruption in which the government was steeped neck deep.
Bhatt also referred to the CM’s alleged move of throwing all norms to the winds to defend his former secretary Mohammad Sahid who was caught on camera negotiating a deal with a liquor mafia. “Similarly, he also defended his officials who were involved in a multi-million scam relating to relief works that were carried out post the deluge that hit the state in 2013”, he said, adding the chief minister’s open refusal to order a CBI probe into the scams was a proof to this effect.
The Rawat government’s ally, the Bahujan Samaj Party, too sees the CM’s declaration of his assets as a political drama.
Reacting sharply to Bhatt’s charges, state Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay said, “The way he is criticising the chief minister shows that he himself is caught in the morass of corruption.”
Hemesh Kharkwal, Congress legislator from Champavat said he had no idea of the rules under which lawmakers were supposed to submit the details of their assets to the Vidhan Sabha secretariat.
Mayukh Mehar, another ruling party legislator termed declaration of assets as not more than a formality. He is yet to submit the details.