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Land scam: the split is showing

india Updated: Aug 05, 2007 08:58 IST
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The Congress leadership has delivered a strong message to its faction-ridden party unit in Delhi: Don’t fight amongst yourselves, instead unite to expose the BJP over the land allotments scam unearthed by the CBI.

The multi-crore scam, in which plots meant for slum-dwellers were grabbed by canteen contractor Ashok Malhotra, has not only exposed the nexus among land mafia, bureaucrats and politicians in the city but has also put the spotlight back on the factionalism that ails Delhi Congress.

The CBI meanwhile, has started its search for the absconding Malhotra after the special court at Tis Hazari issued non-bailable warrants against him on Saturday.

The scam, Delhi Congress leaders said, has split the party vertically with a section blaming Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s camp of resorting to dirty tricks and her supporters accusing detractors of trying to topple her.

The Congress high-command stepped in on Saturday to control the situation. While Dikshit gave her version of events to party president Sonia Gandhi, general secretary Ashok Gehlot met a group of anti-Dikshit leaders, including Union minister Ajay Maken, senior party leader Jagdish Tytler and Delhi ministers Haroon Yusuf, A K Walia and A S Lovely.

“There is no conspiracy to topple the government. The allotment of VIP numberplates is not an issue at all. The real issue is the distribution of plots that took place when the BJP was in power in Delhi. The CBI should inquire into it and the guilty should be punished,” Gehlot told reporters after meeting the Delhi leaders. He denied the possibility of a change of leadership in the state, saying, “It is not under discussion now.”

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