Congress’ attempt to pre-empt the BJP poaching its Uttarakhand legislators has given the saffron party some ammunition to fire at them.
BJP’s national spokesperson Anil Baluni has filed a complaint with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) about Congress MLAs using a chopper to reach a farm house near the Corbett Tiger reserve.
The party had apparently moved its MLAs for a week to avoid the BJP approaching them.
State Congress chief Kishor Upadhyay told Hindustan Times that the legislators had stayed at a house owned by one Akhbar Ahmad ‘Dumpy’. The house is located in a revenue village in Pauri Garhwal district.
A former Congress leader, Dumpy was elected as MP on Bahujan Samaj Party ticket from Uttar Pradesh in 2009, and has political connections across parties.
BJP spokesperson Baluni accused the forest department of taking no action against those who have ‘connections’, and instead picked on villagers over trivial issues.
“It is strange that land sharks entering villages close to Corbett and doing whatever they want. Congress party landed chopper multiple times at a revenue village and forest department shuts it eyes,” Baluni said.
According to sources, the BJP leader’s complaint has been forwarded to the state forest department. However, it has put officials in a tricky position.
Chandrasekhar Bhatt, district magistrate of Pauri Garhwal said he had given permission for chopper landing on March 20.
“The copter didn’t enter the core area of Corbett and they (legislators) stayed at a place outside the reserve,” said Rajinder Kumar Mahajan, head of forest force.
Charging the BJP with trying to create a fuss over nothing, former forest minister Dinesh Agarwal said permission for (chopper) landing is usually taken in advance.
“BJP has nothing to say and therefore they are making mole out of a mountain. Don’t they know Director General of Civil Aviation keeps record (of movement),” said Agarwal, who was a minister under Harish Rawat’s government.
The BJP has also found another bone to pick: BJP leader Ajay Ajayendra accused the Harish Rawat government of allowing a British wrestler make racial comments against Indians, and has taken the issue up with the union home ministry.
Rawat’s government had organised the Great Khali show in Dehradun and Haldwani earlier this year. British wrestler Brody Steele was part of the contingent and addressed a press conference on February 27 at Rawat’s residence in which he allegedly made the remarks.
In its letter dated March 11, the coordination cell of the union ministry forwarded the complaint to the sports minister and joint secretary of home ministry for necessary action. A copy of the letter was received by Ajayendra on March 31st.
“The then CM Harish Rawat let the foreigner speak against Indians at his official residence. Ex CM’s advisor Ranjeet Rawat and officials were present at the press conference and no one stopped the wrestler from abusing Indians,” Ajay accused.