Facing criticism from within the party’s district unit, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Gautam Budh Nagar and Union culture minister, Mahesh Sharma, on Monday held a press conference in which he listed his ‘achievements’ and the development work undertaken by the Centre for the district.
A large faction of the BJP in Greater Noida, mostly Gurjars, have been accusing Sharma of ignoring their community. Three office bearers of the party in Greater Noida have been sacked in the last 15 days for publicly making statements against Sharma.
“As the area MP or even as a doctor, I may not have done something good for somebody, but I can assure you that I have not harmed anybody either. I am indebted to the Gurjar community, which voted me to power. I am working relentlessly for the area’s betterment,” said Sharma.
He added that the Centre has allocated a total of Rs 28,546 crore in the last two years for the development of his constituency, including Rs 14,880 crore for a 1,980 megawatt (MW) power plant at Khurja, Rs12,000 crore for Jewar airport and Rs 6.5 crore for drainage.
“Apart from this amount, Rs 10,000 crore has been allocated for widening NH 24, which will also help a number of residents of Noida and Greater Noida,” said Sharma.
City BJP legislator Vimla Batham and many party leaders from Greater Noida, including many Gurjar leaders, were also present at the press conference.
“Some people have accused me of shelving the proposed airport project at Jewar and giving away a cargo airport project to Bhiwadi in Rajasthan, which is my home state. I wonder how people can accuse anyone of doing something wrong without using their brains. An international airport is proposed at Jewar and if any other cargo airport is constructed at Bhiwadi, how will that affect the international airport,” said Sharma.
In the last 15 days, three BJP office bearers from Greater Noida – Anil Pandit (vice-president), Kapil Gurjar (district minister) and Atul Sharma (working committee member) – have been expelled for alleged anti-party activities. Kapil Gurjar had criticised Sharma’s style of functioning and accused him of ignoring the Gurjar community. The other two had also accused him of not giving appointments for meetings.
“As far as I know him, Sharma tries to meet everyone possible. I have seen him sitting from 9am to 12 in the night in his office and meeting people. So the allegations that he has not met party members seem to be completely fabricated,” said Batham.
Asked about losing charge of the civil aviation ministry recently, Sharma said, “I am still the culture minister, which is one of the most important ministries for the Prime Minister. It is his prerogative whether to give one the charge of a ministry or not. Nineteen people were inducted in the Cabinet and the ministries are limited,” he said.