A day after his resignation was accepted by Maharashtra governor K Sankaranarayanan, Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar targeted the Congress on Sunday for its attempts to “malign” him.
He alleged that this was being done to divert the people’s attention from the coal block allocation scam.
He also sought to justify the cost escalation in irrigation projects—because of which he is under a cloud—saying that the cost of everything, including land had increased manifold over time.
Addressing his first public rally after resigning last week, Ajit did not name the Congress but it was quite clear that his target was the NCP’s alliance partner. The NCP has been pointing fingers at chief minister Prithviraj Chavan of the Congress, saying the “friends” have been the inspiration behind the attacks by the Opposition and the media over the irrigation scam.
“Nobody asked me to resign but I threw it at them,” he said at Akole constituency of NCP president Madhukar Pichad in Ahmednagar district from where he launched his statewide tour on Sunday.
“It is not the first time. Baseless allegations were made against Pawar saheb (Sharad Pawar) in 1995 and he had to pay the price for it,” he said.
The Congress sought to underplay the issue. “The controversies over coal allocation and cost of irrigation projects are two separate issues. Our stand is that people have the right to know what is going on in the irrigation department,” said state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant.