A day after being lambasted by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, veteran BJP leader and candidate from the Kangra parliamentary constituency Shanta Kumar hit back hard, claiming the CM spoke after being pulled up by the Congress party leadership. “I knew Virbhadra would attack me because the Congress leadership reprimanded him recently. A close friend from that party told me about it,” he added.
On Thursday the CM had attacked Shanta over his pet projects, Vivekanand hospital and Kayakalp (a yoga and naturopathy institute). “This isn’t the first time Virbhadra or his party colleagues have raked up the issue as they can’t think of anything else. Not a single penny allocated for the project has been misused. I received `25 crore in public donations for the hospital and was donating my entire salary I was getting as a central cabinet minister to see the project take off,” Shanta said wryly .
He asserted neither he, in his capacity as the project trust’s chairman, or any of the trustees, had ever claimed travel and dearness allowances during trust meetings. “Free treatment is being provided to the poorest families while families below the poverty line and senior citizens are being given special concessions on treatment and medicines at Vivekananda hospital and Kayakalp. The trust has till now spent over `1 crore on treatment of poor patients,” he claimed.
He added Jaypee Associates Ltd has also extended financial assistance to the tune of `25 crore for the project.
Asserting the debate in the current election campaign had sidestepped the real issues, Shanta asked, “Why didn’t they speak up when I raised the issue of black money? Isn’t it true former PM Rajiv Gandhi had secret Swiss bank accounts? Why was the UPA government reluctant to bring back the black money even when the Swiss government had agreed to cooperate?” Shanta asked.
On the accusation by Congress candidate Chander Kumar that he had not disclosed details of MPLAD funds, Shanta said; “I spent `21.46 crore of the `21 crore I got as an MP, that too six month before my term ended”.
“The money including the interest on deposited funds has been spent on 746 schemes in Kangra and Chamba,” claimed Shanta.
The veteran leader claimed that National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will get abslute majority and will give corruption free, transparent and honest government to the country. He claimed that party was united and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal will soon come to Kangra for election campaign.