The land acquisition controversy near Purti Power and Sugar Ltd is likely to be a major issue in the October 21 gram panchayat elections in the Bela area.
The land was submerged during the Wadgaon irrigation project and excess land, which the government should have returned to farmers, was instead given to Purti Power and Sugar that IAC claims is promoted by BJP chief Nitin Gadkari.
Rajendra Moreshwar Kamble, a youth from Bela, says 19 acres of his land was acquired by the irrigation department in 1981.
"We have been cultivating the land on lease from the irrigation department for years. Now, Purti officials are preventing us from cultivating the land," he claimed.
The controversial 78 acres was given to Gadkari's charitable organisation - Purti Sinchan Kalyankari Sansthan.
Jaikumar Verma, deputy chairman of Purti Power and Sugar, said, "He (Kamble) had approached us for an official nomination for his wife in the panchayat elections from Bela. We could not accommodate her because of lack of electoral merit, and therefore, he went against us."